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What Are The Top Five Myths About Intelligent Design?

My friend Melissa Travis just posted this excellent blog post dissecting five of the top misconceptions about intelligent design. She writes,

There are few things more frustrating than hearing the same tired old myths and misconceptions over and over again, particularly when they directly relate to the subject you’ve devoted your education and career to. Intelligent Design theory suffers this plight, even at the hands of Christians who freely criticize it without doing their homework. In this short post, I would like to list and comment upon the untruths I hear most frequently.

Click here to continue reading!

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165 Responses to What Are The Top Five Myths About Intelligent Design?

  1. haha, anti-id of the gaps.

    No peer reviewed articles. Well, ok, but no peer reviewed articles in journals about w. Well, ok, but no peer reviewed articles in journal x or y. Well, ok, but no peer reviewed articles in journal z.

  2. Excellent:

    MYTH #4: ID uses a disguised form of the “God of the gaps” fallacy.

    The true story: ID does not say “We don’t yet know how life emerged from non-life, therefore an intelligence must have done it.” Rather, it makes a two-fold argument: 1) Neo-Darwinian explanations for the emergence and divergence of life are sorely insufficient in their explanatory power and 2) there are features of nature, such as the specified complexity of the digital information in DNA, that are best explained by intelligent agency. We already know from direct experience how to detect intelligence in other branches of science, so inferring intelligence based on the same type of observed effects is completely reasonable. In scientific practice, we infer the existing cause that is KNOWN to produce the effect in question. Since biochemistry contains information, ID theorists infer that there must be an informer, because there are no other sources of information. Ironically, whenever a materialist says, “We don’t yet know how life emerged from non-life, but one day science will explain it,” they are actually using the Science of the Gaps fallacy.

    I hope certain objectors are reading.

    KF

  3. oh, they are. And trying to decide how to twist and distort.

    :)

  4. Myth #6 – Intelligent Design ‘theorists/advocates/proponents’ are the most important ‘theorists/advocates/propnents’ of ‘design’ in the contemporary scholar/scientific landscape.

    The true story: This past weekend, along with over 1400 other scholars and scientists, I attended a major international conference on science and society that focussed principally on ‘design.’ Many ‘design’ topics were discussed. I looked at the large program booklet and still haven’t found a single presentation by an ‘intelligent design’ = Big-ID (in contrast with small-id) proponent.

    Bottom line: There is a TON of ‘design theory’ out there even today that is simply outside the scope of ‘intelligent design’ as the IDM names it. The funny thing is that all of the ideas and work involving ‘design’ presented at that conference are already examples of ‘intelligent’ design. That is, they indicate ‘design’ by ‘intelligent’ human beings for which we can study ‘design processes’ and ‘design strategies,’ and other such things that Big-ID does not study (because of its dogmatism?).

    This is not the “same tired old myth” about ID. Instead, it reveals a weakness in ID theory enough to suggest pause for some reflexivity.

    “We already know from direct experience how to detect intelligence in other branches of science, so inferring intelligence based on the same type of observed effects is completely reasonable.” – Melissa

    Our ‘direct experience’ of ‘designing’ technology differs categorically from supposed ‘direct experience’ of the origins of life, which we (human beings) do not have.

    Gregory, Ph.D. (title written to follow the appeals to authority in Melissa’s Blog cited)

  5. G:

    On the way out the door.

    Of course we have good reason to infer that the first relevant cell was a gated, encapsulated, metabolising automaton with significant self-assembly capacity and using a code based von Neumann kinematic self replicator. Such was full of FSCO/I.

    And, since we know what is reliably and repeatedly observed to be causally adequate for FSCO/I — design, and what is not — blind chance and necessity; we have every good epistemic reason to infer to best explanation on sign that the cell was designed.

    KF

  6. Hang on, who changed the title of the article for this post? It’s really called:

    Top Five Myths Christians (and Non-Christians) Often Believe About Intelligent Design

    I think there’s an important difference in slant there.

  7. From the article:

    ID is not “interventionist” as many theistic evolutionists (and atheistic evolutionists) like to claim.

    I was going to call this one but I guess if you support a front-loading kind of ID then I guess that is true.

    The idea of a designing intelligence steadily and purposefully guiding the development of life at the sub-atomic level is compatible with ID, but that particular scenario is not required by ID, either.

    You know, I have to admit, this statement alone helps me to see why some ID proponents say ID is compatible with common descent. If the interventions were all at the subatomic level then the chemical/genetic trails is uninterrupted.

    I’m not saying I agree in design but I see a bit better what the argument is.

    And I still have trouble ’cause there is no unified ID hypothesis. There seems to be so many different flavours of ID it’s hard to know what the main argument is aside from: we think it’s designed.

  8. Gregory, Ph.D. (title written to follow the appeals to authority in Melissa’s Blog cited)

    Intellectual dishonesty. When she mentioned Ph.D.’s it wasn’t to make an appeal to authority. It was merely to mention people who had certain beliefs. She mentions two PhD’s and offers them as examples of people who hold two differing opinions on a matter, not as authorities on the matter.

  9. Myth #7: The intelligent designer is intelligent.

  10. 10
    Kantian Naturalist

    I’d appreciate some responses to a concern I have about intelligent design.

    As Kairofocus points out, the basic idea is as follows:

    (1) postulating the existence of unobservable entities to explain observable regularities is a legitimate form of scientific practice;
    (2) we observe functional specified complexity in various human and non-human artifacts;
    (3) in case (2) above, those artifacts are produced by an intelligent agent of some sort.
    (4) so, in the case of functional specified complexity in cellular machinery, we postulate the existence of an intelligent agent as the cause of that complexity.

    Here’s my worry: in good scientific practice, we don’t just posit the existence of some unobservable. Rather, the posited entity has to have the right kind of causal relationship with the observable entities in order to produce them. And that means that the nature of the posited entity has to specified fairly precisely. It’s only then that the postulation can be tested.

    What worries me about intelligent design is the commitment to placing the identity of the designer outside of design theory proper. I don’t see how design theory can actually test the postulation without specifying what what kind of causal relationship it has with cellular machinery, and that in turn requires specifying what kind of being the designer is. But without doing so, we don’t have a working scientific theory — there’s only a hypothesis that needs to be tested.

    In other words, my contention is that it’s not the case that the identity of the designer must be outside the scope of the theory proper. Rather, we’d only have a working scientific theory if the designer is identified — at any rate, identified enough so that we can build a model of its causal relationship with cellular machinery and then figure out how to test the model.

  11. Gregory:

    So let’s see. Your contention is that we can’t infer design if we see something that is beyond human capabilities. Stuff that is within current human design capability can presumably be inferred to be designed and we can conclude that natural processes could not have brought it about. That is all well and good. But if it is beyond current human design capabilities, then we can’t infer design and — Ta-Da! — natural processes might have been able to bring it about. Wow.

    Forget about SETI, forget about encountering artifacts from some other intelligent civilization, forget about other discoveries that might be beyond our current technological experience. According to Gregory, unless we can design it, we can’t recognize design. Grab the guy off the street and show him a piece of technology he doesn’t fully understand or isn’t capable of designing himself (pick anything: a CPU, a flash memory array, etc.) and, according to Gregory, the poor gentleman can’t reasonably infer design. He has to rely on his materialism-of-the-gaps default answer that “nature dun’it” until he gets to the point he can design it himself — at which point he can infer design. Pretty remarkable.

    The idea that we can’t infer design unless we have experience building it ourselves is patently false, both in theory and in everyday practice.

    Finally, based on your statements, I presume you will fully accept that the design inference can apply to biology once humans have created, say, a protein or a stretch of DNA that codes for a discrete function?

    ——

    BTW, there is not a ton of design work out there that is beyond the scope of what intelligent design applies to. It’s just that design is not controversial in those areas, so it is accepted as par for the course and we don’t need to write books or have debates about whether design is relevant. Nobody questions in those areas that: (i) the particular item is designed, (ii) design principles are required to create it, (iii) natural processes aren’t up to the task, (iv) modifications and improvements of any reasonable scale also require additional intelligent input. All of this is right down the lines of what intelligent design proponents are saying. It is only when we get to biology (and cosmology, to a similar but perhaps lesser extent) that controversy arises. Not because design is any different or harder to see, but because it steps on some people’s deeply held a priori philosophical preferences.

    BTW, sounds like a neat conference. I’m jealous I didn’t get to attend.

  12. KN, thanks for your thoughts.

    I’m not sure what the additional information about the designer would be intended to do for us. There are indeed some things we can say about the designer (singular here just for simplicity):

    We know the designer is very skilled, with knowledge of codes, algorithms, storage, retrieval and translation mechanisms, as well as intimate understanding of biochemistry and physics (and, it now appears, probably quantum mechanics as well). We know the designer had the ability to interact with matter. We know the designer is capable of creating the system in question, with all the capabilities we could individually ennumerate for the particular system.

    Beyond that, I don’t know what the designer’s identity would serve to tell us in a scientific sense. For example, I don’t need to know the first thing about the identity of the individual(s) at AMD who designed my CPU to appreciate and conclude that it was designed. I don’t need to know their identity to learn from the design, or to use the principles of its design to make something of my own. The designer’s personality, habits, beliefs, and so on are irrelevant to the design inference.

    The second order question of the designer’s identity is of course interesting in its own right, but we must not mess up design theory with that issue. Not going there is not a weakness. Indeed, one of the great strengths of intelligent design is that it asks a very limited set of questions and does not attempt to go beyond what can reasonably be inferred. I view the refusal to speculate on the designer’s identity as one of the great strengths of the theory. If it went into that, I would not be nearly as comfortable supporting the idea.

  13. Hi KN, good post. Always nice to hear from you.

    Say you are a telegraph operator and hear clicks in the speaker on your end. They make no sense according to the morse code you’ve been taught. You might attribute the cause to electrical disturbance (noise) on the wire.

    Say you hear clicks in the speaker on your end. again they make no sense according to the morse code you’ve been taught but they do exhibit a regular repeating pattern. You might attribute the cause to some natural regularity.

    Now say you hear an intelligible message in morse code. You might attribute that to an intelligent cause.

    But say there is a machine on the other end which is generating the electrical impulses.

    Would you consider that machine an intelligent agent?

    I think your main point is that you don’t think ID is testable. So it’s sort of faux science until we can use it to generate models. Is that right?

    As an aside, does evo theory allow us to make predictions according to models of how or even some species will evolve and what it will become?

  14. p.s. what sort of models did you have in mind? models of the past, models of the future?

  15. 15
    Kantian Naturalist

    I’ll respond to Eric’s (12) above and return later on for Mung’s (13) & (14).

    The big part of my point is that we don’t know those things about the designer. We assume those things about the designer. That’s how inference to the best explanation works — we’re trying to explain the observations (in this case, functional specified complexity). We say, “well, perhaps there’s an intelligent agent at work — the existence of functional specified complexity is much more probable if there were such an agent than if there isn’t.” OK, but now what?

    Just making the inference isn’t enough — we need a way of testing the inference to see if it’s right, or on the right track. And how do we do that? In most science, when we’re trying to see if our postulations are sound, we need to figure out a way of testing them, and to do that, we need to develop a model of how the posited entity causes the observable regularities. What I’m trying to get at here is that there’s a deep conceptual linkage between explanation and causation: we explain p in terms of q by showing how q causes p.

    But in order to generate a testable model of the designer, we have to be able to specify quite a bit about its nature, which is to say, we have to make a conjecture about it. Just inferring, or making the postulation, isn’t enough — we’ve got to be able to figure out whether we’re right or not, and I don’t see how ID can do that without making a conjecture about the identity of the designer and then testing the implications of that conjecture.

    Suppose I have a problem with my car, or my computer. I think to myself, “well, if I were an engineer, how would I have designed it? I would made a car that does ____ when ____ but does _____ when _____.” I’m making a conjecture about the intentions and purposes of the engineer, and if I know what I’m doing, I can test those conjectures.

    If the intentions and purposes of the designer are off-limits to conjecture, then I don’t see how the theory can ever get to a point where it’s even vulnerable to refutation. And that’s not good, because it would mean that even if evolutionary theory is wrong, design theory would be not even wrong.

  16. Hi everyone. Grace and peace. I see some thoughtful and intelligent comments on my article. Thanks for those. I will not address those that have already been well-answered.

    [This is probably the only comment I will have time to make, so I apologize in advance for not interacting further. I'm in the middle of a very difficult final paper for my history course.]

    Eric Anderson, thanks for your great posts!

    Jerad, I particularly appreciate your comments and your gracious tone. I, too, am frustrated by the many “flavors” of ID. That was part of my motivation for writing this article. But, just as Augustine said, we can’t “judge a philosophy by its abuse.” Sadly, the label “intelligent design” is misappropriated like crazy. I suppose we could say that there is Intelligent Design Theory and there is intelligent design, loosely speaking. My article refers to the former. I would like to suggest that ID Theory be judged based on the work of scientists and philosophers of science who have articulated the formal theory itself. William Dembski and Stephen Meyer are great examples. I agree wholeheartedly that the theory is sometimes distorted in ways that are confusing at best, misleading at worst.

    Mung, good call on the intellectual dishonesty of Gregory. Thanks for properly defining the fallacy of “appeal to authority.” Bravo. “Thou shalt not commit logical fallacies” should have been the 11th commandment.

    Finally, I would like to reiterate the fact that just because you don’t know how something was designed or you don’t know anything about the designer, that doesn’t mean you cannot be fully justified in inferring design. This is precisely what archaeologists do. They may have no idea how an artifact was made or who made it, but they can still judge it to be the product of intelligent agency.

    Blessings!
    Melissa

  17. KN @15:

    I agree that an initial inference to design is involved. But we don’t know the things I listed about the designer in a vaccuum. Maybe we could say it this way: Given the inference to design in a particular case, we can say a few things x, y, z about the designer (i.e., those things that follow from the designed object).

    I’m not sure what you are trying to test. That a designer can design things? That a designer can create a code, design a functional system, create a storage device made from biochemical molecules? We already know all that from empirical evidence, so I’m not sure what you think we need to test. Maybe that is what Mung is also asking, so I’ll wait until you respond to him — I’m probably missing what it is that you think needs to be done.

    —–

    If the intentions and purposes of the designer are off-limits to conjecture, then I don’t see how the theory can ever get to a point where it’s even vulnerable to refutation.

    They aren’t off limits to conjecture — we can conjecture all we want. But it isn’t relevant to whether there is a designer. This isn’t an attempt to protect the theory; it isn’t a problem with ID; it is just a logical fact: whether something is designed is a separate question from who the designer was, which is in turn a separate question from the designer’s intentions and purposes.

    Also, ID is very vulnerable to refutation. All anyone has to do is demonstrate that purely natural processes can generate complex functional specified information and all of us on this forum will go quietly away.

    Incidentally, Behe has a decent discussion of this from his experience talking with may ID critics that is worth reading:

    http://www.arn.org/docs/behe/m.....sponse.htm

    (Just check out Part I if you’re pressed for time.)

  18. BTW, in regard to your computer example, it is worth noting that essentially every discovery in biology about functional systems is grounded on the idea that there is a functional purpose for the item in question. In contrast the Darwinian origin story — that the thing I’m looking at might just as well be a haphazard jumble of purposeless junk — has produced essentially zero helpful discoveries about how biological systems work. The only way we can understand biological systems — and the way discoveries have been and are being made — is through reverse engineering at its finest.

  19. KN

    I’d like to respond to your question in this manner. I read your post, it was a good post and it is very relevant to the topic! It has specified information that I could read and interpret and consider. This does not mean I know anything about you other than the fact that the sender of the message has definite intelligence.

    So to conclude on the inference, I have made a reasonable conclusion that you have a mind based on the purposeful and specified information you conveyed.

  20. KN: I would have responded in more details but see that you have some very good replies already. All I add is that in 1948/9, von Neumann analysed what would be required for a machine to be self replicating using coded info. He came up with an abstract architecture, which it turns out bears more than a passing resemblance to what is in the living cell, starting with the discovery — elucidation — of DNA in 1953. So, we do understand in part what is required to do something like that. And, we have excellent needle in the haystack and chemical kinetics and thermodynamics (as in endothermic reactions with a key breakdown means ready to hand, H2O; etc etc.) reasons for seeing that such an entity is going to be rather hard to plausibly come up with by blind processes in the proverbial warm little Darwinian pond or the like. In that context, we have strong observational base to see that design as process is an adequate cause for FSCO/I, and tha tit is the only observed adequate cause. So, an inference on best explanation per reliable sign is warranted. And, we can properly infer — no, it is not a mere assumption — that the codes, functional organisations etc point to characteristics of the designer(s) as we also know that designers need to have requisite knowledge and skills. For instance, not any and every one can walk in off the street and design a computer or a robot then build and get them to work. KF

  21. KN

    In other words, my contention is that it’s not the case that the identity of the designer must be outside the scope of the theory proper. Rather, we’d only have a working scientific theory if the designer is identified — at any rate, identified enough so that we can build a model of its causal relationship with cellular machinery and then figure out how to test the model.

    Well, let’s put that claim to the test: Does archeological science, which detects design in an ancient hunter’s spear, require the theorist to identify the hunter that designed the spear or define the causal relationship between the two? The answer is no. Next case.

  22. KN:

    If the intentions and purposes of the designer are off-limits to conjecture, then I don’t see how the theory can ever get to a point where it’s even vulnerable to refutation. And that’s not good, because it would mean that even if evolutionary theory is wrong, design theory would be not even wrong.

    If the spear that is alleged to have been designed by the ancient hunter above can be shown to have formed by the naturalistic forces of wind, water, and erosion, then the design hypothesis has been refuted. It is not necessary to know whether the designer intended to hunt meat, participate in a spear-throwing contest, or create a new art form.

  23. StephanB (20):

    Well, let’s put that claim to the test: Does archeological science, which detects design in an ancient hunter’s spear, require the theorist to identify the hunter that designed the spear or define the causal relationship between the two? The answer is no. Next case.

    BUT we know there were creatures around at the time capable of making such a device. We even know how they did it!!

    Just prove there was A designer around at the time with the capacities you ascribe to ‘him’. Just one will do. Show me the evidence.

  24. Jerad:

    BUT we know there were creatures around at the time capable of making such a device.

    Ah, but how do you know that? Because of the archeological evidence. Thanks for proving StephenB’s point. :)

    In addition, it doesn’t matter. You don’t need to have prior knowledge of the existence of a designer to infer design. Look back over the past couple hundred years. Every single discovery of a previously-unknown civilization, previously-unknown group or tribe, previusly-unknown engineering or design capability has happened even though we didn’t know beforehand that such a civilization, tribe, group or designer existed. And our knowledge of the civilization, tribe, group or designer comes primarily from the artifacts they left behind.

    The idea that we have to independently know the designer existed before we can infer design is logically wrong, against the weight of our experience, and smacks of closemindedness based on a prior philosophical commitment. It is very difficult to understand how otherwise intelligent people could have such an obvious mental block, but the nearest I can ascertain is that there is an acute personal need to avoid any possible implication arising from the idea that there is a designer of life.

    Oh, well. Thankfully some of us prefer to follow the evidence, rather than some prior philosophical commitment.

  25. Jerad’s argument has already been refuted at length in a different thread. Not sure why he thinks he can just repeat it here and get away with it.

    Jerad:

    BUT we know there were creatures around at the time capable of making such a device. We even know how they did it!!

    Who is this ‘we’ you’re talking about? You weren’t there. I wasn’t there. If you weren’t there to observe them making such a device you don’t know there were creatures around capable of making such a device.

    And you don’t know how they did it either, because you weren’t there. The best you can hope for is to say how we might do such a thing given certain assumptions about material and technology, then assume they did likewise.

  26. Eric (24):

    Ah, but how do you know that? Because of the archeological evidence. Thanks for proving StephenB’s point.

    But that’s more than just one artefact or class of artefacts! Including remains of bodies!! We’ve got sites all over with hearths, art, tools, burials, etc. Plus the material cultural remains are inanimate objects that do not self-replicate and cannot descend with modification!!

    In addition, it doesn’t matter. You don’t need to have prior knowledge of the existence of a designer to infer design. Look back over the past couple hundred years. Every single discovery of a previously-unknown civilization, previously-unknown group or tribe, previusly-unknown engineering or design capability has happened even though we didn’t know beforehand that such a civilization, tribe, group or designer existed. And our knowledge of the civilization, tribe, group or designer comes primarily from the artifacts they left behind.

    Again, inanimate objects AND we knew there were humans around at the time. Now, if we’d ever found something inanimate and clearly designed in the Cambrian layers then you’d have something. But all the material remains from intelligent designers we have found correspond to the times we can establish that there were humans around. The design inference is used all the time in the proper contexts.

    The idea that we have to independently know the designer existed before we can infer design is logically wrong, against the weight of our experience, and smacks of closemindedness based on a prior philosophical commitment. It is very difficult to understand how otherwise intelligent people could have such an obvious mental block, but the nearest I can ascertain is that there is an acute personal need to avoid any possible implication arising from the idea that there is a designer of life.

    Why would you believe in a designer of life until it had been established so strongly that there could be no doubt? Given the implications?

    Again, at the given times (millions of years ago?) how do you know there was a being around with the necessary capabilities and tools to do whatever it is you think they did? You have no material artefacts: no labs, no toilets, no burials, no roads, no tools, no documents, no built up mounds, no standing stone circles, no cave art, nothing. No evidence whatsoever. Except for DNA and since that’s the issue in question I will give your view more credence when you’ve got something in addition to that!!

    (You can’t use the holes in the fossil record as evidence of design because it’s non-sensical to assume that we’d have a complete life form record in fossils. Not only would we be buried deep in them but obviously turning into a fossil was a rare and unusual event.)

  27. Mung (25):

    Who is this ‘we’ you’re talking about? You weren’t there. I wasn’t there. If you weren’t there to observe them making such a device you don’t know there were creatures around capable of making such a device.

    And you don’t know how they did it either, because you weren’t there. The best you can hope for is to say how we might do such a thing given certain assumptions about material and technology, then assume they did likewise.

    If a modern flint knapper makes a point they will get exactly the same kind of spray of shards that we can find on archaeological sites. We can recreate them perfectly. We can even tell whether the point maker was right or left handed. We can date their material remains and, sometimes, their remains. ‘We’ is the community of archaeologists and other scientists who do the work in the field and in the lab.

    What about the P(T|H) issue Mung? Do you still think keiths was lying?

  28. Eric,
    Yes, it was a pretty neat conference. I learned a lot about ‘design’ that I hadn’t learned from reading thousands of pages and commentary about Intelligent Design and attending the DI’s summer program. One of my favourite sessions was on Universal Design, but that does not refer to the Design (Big-D) of the universe.

    “Stuff that is within current human design capability can presumably be inferred to be designed and we can conclude that natural processes could not have brought it about.” – Eric

    Yes, that’s correct, but ‘whether or not natural processes could have brought it about’ is unimportant to the majority of ‘design theorists,’ who are not interested simply in the ontological (is it or isn’t it?) ‘design’ question, but in the epistemological and praxiological questions of studying design as a feature of the human-made environment. The ‘design theorists’ at the above mentioned even are people who are mainly ‘futuristic’ in so far as they want to know how design can be improved, rather than aiming to solve deep historical-cosmological-theological-biological questions of meaning and purpose of life itself.

    Following your logic, Eric, one of the main questions between us is: where (in which fields of knowledge) is the term ‘design’ relevant and where is it irrelevant? Is ‘design’ irrelevant anywhere? For Universalistic IDists, *everything* is designed. But for those ID advocates who do not take such an extreme position, and from past discussions I’m assuming that you don’t, then that question holds significant interest and is worth dialogue.

    Regarding your ‘guy (or gal) on the street’ example, technology by definition is ‘designed’ and ‘made.’ Thus, I differentiate in my work between human-made things (e.g. technology) and non-human-made things (e.g. biological information). But the IDM doesn’t do this and instead draws heavily in its ‘historical science’ on analogy with human-made things (e.g. mousetrap, Easter Island, Mt. Rushmore, etc.).

    Take for example archaeology, which was mentioned in this thread. I’m not aware of a single archaeologist who promotes Intelligent Design Theory. Can you name an IDist-archaeologist? Which living archaeologist(s) promote ID theory? The analogy of Intelligent Design Theory with archaeology has been debunked by several archaeologists already; they don’t agree with IDists using their science as an example.

    The Society for American Archaeology did a special edition on Intelligent Design. It can be found here. The only one of three articles I found worth reading was by Peter Bleed.

    Here are a couple of quotations:
    “archaeologists are divided about the role of intelligence in the design of the systems we study.”

    “Human creativity and intellectual breakthroughs are, of course, real and very different from supernatural innovation.”

    “If our explanation of change depends on the intelligence of human designers, in addition to presenting evidence that the intelligence existed and that it was causative, we have to document the contextual conditions that made it effective.”

    This final quotation is provocative and would have fit in well with the discussions at the conference on ‘design’ that I attended. Indeed, the contextual conditions of making ‘design’ (change) effective are precisely what Universal Design is all about.

    Additionally, Bleed even supports Jerad’s claim and Melissa’s agreement with Jerad about the “many different flavours of ID.” Bleed speaks of archaeology as “the other kind of intelligent design.” Iow, archaeology is not an example of Intelligent Design Theory in action; it is a different flavour of ‘design’ theory that doesn’t have much (if anything) to do with ID Theory at all.

    That is precisely what I point out in my neo-id approach known as Human Extension. Human Extension answers Kantian Naturalist’s questions in #10 re: “we’d only have a working scientific theory if the designer is identified.” The designer/builder/constructor/maker is identifiably (or sometimes in historical research unidentifiably) human, which is no big secret, but important for providing explanatory power that Big-ID lacks.

    To clarify, Big-ID, or IDM-ID or Intelligent Design Theory (uppercase) is the theory promoted by the Discovery Institute and the Intelligent Design Movement. That is not what TE’s/ECs and the vast majority of Abrahamic theists mean by ‘intelligent design’ and it is not what the 1400 scholars (of various religious faiths) who presented on ‘design’ at the conference I attended mean by ‘design.’ That is why a neo-id, new (intelligent) design theory is needed to help solve some of the confusion among terms.

    The vast majority of ‘design’ theories are distinct from Big-ID and they are also productive, active, current constructive approaches that are discussed and applied widely in many different scientific disciplines. Iow, they are credible and creative and thus generate patents, innovations and inventions, publications, associations and businesses, research programs, conferences, project grants, etc. These ‘design theories’ may not be about ‘the most important life question(s),’ but they also don’t draw faulty analogies with human-made things or get in bed with (even young earth, i.e. scientifically discredited) creationists who are largely responsible for funding them.

    Bottom line, Eric, I’m in agreement with you in studying ‘design,’ but not in agreement with you in studying what Big-ID calls ‘design/Design,’ which supposedly proceeded from an unembodied, transcendent designer/Designer, without being allowed to consider either the ‘design process’ or the designer/Designer (him/Him or her/Herself) as part of the Theory. The ‘design theories’ presented at the conference I attended are the paradigm home-base category of ‘design’ in science and industry; Big-ID/ID Theory is attempting a semantic wedge-waggle in a different direction.

  29. Jerad:

    If a modern flint knapper makes a point they will get exactly the same kind of spray of shards that we can find on archaeological sites. We can recreate them perfectly. We can even tell whether the point maker was right or left handed.

    Based on what we ourselves do we make inferences. My point exactly. Allowed for archaeology, not allowed for ID.

    Special pleading.

  30. Gregory,
    Does Bleed mean to say that every time archaeologists dig up something that appears to be a pyramid, sphinx, coffin, arrowhead, bracelet, etc. they don’t automatically infer intelligent design and instead go through some process by which they arrive at it?

  31. Jerad

    BUT we know there were creatures around at the time capable of making such a device.

    How do “we” know that?

    We even know how they did it!!

    Gregory made this same ridiculous claim a few months ago. So I will ask you the same question I asked him: Please provide a step-by-step account of the process by which an ancient hunter constructed his spear and disclose the methodology used to arrive at that knowledge.

    Also, please tell me, if “we know how they did IT,” which indicates a single, unvaried process,” why you think that every spear was constructed in exactly the same way, using the same steps, and in the same order.

    Gregory had no answer to either question. I have higher hopes for you (well, not really).

    Just prove there was A designer around at the time with the capacities you ascribe to ‘him’. Just one will do. Show me the evidence.

    Obviously, you don’t understand the argument being made, which is clearly not a “proof.” Let me help you out here.

    Proposition A: Wind, water, and erosion formed the spear, which merely gives the appearance of having been designed.

    Proposition B: An intelligent agent designed the spear for some purpose, the evidence for which is found in the form of design features.

    The task is to consider both propositions [real design vs. the mere appearance of design] and make an inference to the best explanation. Please perform that task: Choose either Proposition A or Proposition B and explain why you think your choice is reasonable.

  32. lpadron #30,

    What do you mean by ‘intelligent design’? I’ve gone to considerable effort to distinguish between ‘intelligent design’ and ‘Intelligent Design.’ I’d ask that you return the favour in an attempt at clarity.

    I didn’t find any further works by Bleed on ‘intelligent design,’ but credit him for raising the question to archaeologists. Most likely they ‘infer’ similar results to what they’ve already studied in neighbouring or nearby historical contexts.

    Archaeologists have been studying human-made things for many years. By definition, archaeology is the study of human-made things. This in itself distinguishes it from ‘origins of life’ or ‘origins of biological information.’ The ‘designer(s)’ is/are already known, at least generally speaking, through the tradition of archaeological thought. This is a distinction that Big-ID has not yet been willing to make with its analogism.

    StephenB, All that needs to be said is ‘sandcastles.’ Human Extension adresses this topic with vigour and creatively confronts your question much, much better and thoroughly than Big-ID Theory. Like the ‘design theories’ presented at the major international conference cited above, Human Extension’s explanatory power far exceeds that of Intelligent Design Theory. It actually (gets ‘down and dirty’ and) studies ‘design processes’ and ‘design strategies,’ instead of significantly limiting itself to ontology (is it or isn’t it?) which dogmatically denies the designer/Designer can be included in the Theory.

  33. Mung (29):

    Based on what we ourselves do we make inferences. My point exactly. Allowed for archaeology, not allowed for ID.

    Special pleading.

    Based on some physical evidence you can display in the lab. Stuff you can measure and pick up and plot. Based on dating techniques.

    Stuff that is in agreement with all the other sciences AND does not involve hypothesising causes not proven to have existed.

  34. Gregory:

    The analogy of Intelligent Design Theory with archaeology has been debunked by several archaeologists already;…..

    How has that analogy been debunked? Be specific.

    …they don’t agree with IDists using their science as an example.

    Is that supposed to prove something? Anti ID forensic scientists, anti-ID SETI researchers, anti ID astrophysicists, anti-ID biologists, and anti-ID cosmologists are equally outraged that ID would apply their methods. Indeed, if Darwin could come back, he would learn and be equally scandalized by the fact that ID uses his own uniformatarian method of scientific reasoning to argue on behalf of design.

  35. StephenB (31):

    BUT we know there were creatures around at the time capable of making such a device.

    How do “we” know that?

    Extensive discovery of pertinent archaeological sites and their dating via various techniques.

    We even know how they did it!!

    Gregory made this same ridiculous claim a few months ago. So I will ask you the same question I asked him: Please provide a step-by-step account of the process by which an ancient hunter constructed his spear and disclose the methodology used to arrive at that knowledge.

    There are over 100 years of research into such things. I don’t know of a particular concise summary. I can have a look if you like. But I don’t understand why you are calling all that work into question. Do you really think Neanderthals were incapable of using tools and making weapons? Based on the evidence discovered?

    Also, please tell me, if “we know how they did IT,” which indicates a single, unvaried process,” why you think that every spear was constructed in exactly the same way, using the same steps, and in the same order.

    Many people have learned how to reproduce exactly ancient spearhead and axes. If you are really interested you can find such things by googling them.

    Gregory had no answer to either question. I have higher hopes for you (well, not really).

    Nice to know you have such a high opinion of me.

    A lot f what you’re asking for is readily available via web searches. So I am tending to think you haven’t really tried to find the answers yourself.

    Additionally you’re doubting the overall consensus is down to some special reason or agenda.

    Just prove there was A designer around at the time with the capacities you ascribe to ‘him’. Just one will do. Show me the evidence.

    Obviously, you don’t understand the argument being made, which is clearly not a “proof.” Let me help you out here.

    Proposition A: Wind, water, and erosion formed the spear, which merely gives the appearance of having been designed.

    Proposition B: An intelligent agent designed the spear for some purpose, the evidence for which is found in the form of design features.

    Oh gosh . . . let me think . . . I pick B.

    The task is to consider both propositions [real design vs. the mere appearance of design] and make an inference to the best explanation. Please perform that task: Choose either Proposition A or Proposition B and explain why you think your choice is reasonable.

    Inanimate objects can not reproduce with variation and thus create offspring with differential survival characteristics. That’s not quite right but I”m doing my best.

    Living forms will be more or less well adapted to their environment and will therefore produce more or less offspring thereby affecting the allele frequencies in the overall population.

    Evolutionary theory is actually quite simple and elegant and has a lot of explanatory power. Why is it being so miscategorised and demonised?

  36. Stephen (31):

    Just to clarify . . .

    Are you really, honestly saying that you don’t recognise or acknowledge all the work that hase been done by over a century of archaeologists and other scientists to figure out how ancient man accomplished certain things? Are you calling into question thousands of research projects which all contributed to the current consensus? Have you spent some time trying to learn what the current view is? Have you read several archaeological books on ancient history?

    I think perhaps I could better address your concerns if I better understood what you do assert and believe. I am really not clear on that.

  37. Gregory

    StephenB, All that needs to be said is ‘sandcastles.’ Human Extension adresses this topic with vigour and creatively confronts your question much, much better and thoroughly than Big-ID Theory.

    What question was that? How does it relate to sandcastles? Please make your points with some measure of clarity. At the very least, try to present your ideas in the form of a unified theme or rational argument so that everyone knows what you are trying to say. Have some pity on the poor reader.

  38. Jerad

    Are you really, honestly saying that you don’t recognise or acknowledge all the work that hase been done by over a century of archaeologists and other scientists to figure out how ancient man accomplished certain things?

    No, I wasn’t saying that. On the contrary, I recognize that archeologists can uncover, to some extent, the “techniques” and materials that designer’s use, especially when they study something like pottery. At the same time, however, no archeologist could, as you claim, ever know THE process that hunters use to construct a spear because that very claim assumes that all spears are constructed the same way. As such, you were making an extravagant claim that cannot be defended.

    Meanwhile, you ignored all of my questions. I would be willing to help you work through them, but you must first confront them. Just do what I did. Answer the question with a either with a yes or no, followed by an explanation, or choose between the alternatives offered, again followed by an explanation.

  39. Jerad:

    Oh gosh . . . let me think . . . I pick B. (An intelligent agent designed the spear)

    Good. Why did you rule out wind, air, and erosion as the cause and why did you infer that an intelligent agent was responsible?

    Many people have learned how to reproduce exactly ancient spearhead and axes. If you are really interested you can find such things by googling them.

    Yes, one can, in a limited way, simulate the construction of this or that spear, but each spear is different. That means that there is no way to advance a theory for all spears. Still, I grant that we can know something about the process by observing the design, but we cannot discern the exact order of the steps. Maybe the head was carved out first, or maybe it was the handle. The broader point, though, is this: It is not necessary to know the identity of the designer in order to infer design.

  40. Jerad

    I think perhaps I could better address your concerns if I better understood what you do assert and believe. I am really not clear on that.

    OK. I am asserting that we can detect the presence of an intelligent cause (designer, agent) by observing the effects of that agent’s design, either in an artifact or an organism– without any knowledge of exactly who the designer is, exactly what kind of designer it is, or exactly what process was used.

  41. Jerad:

    Inanimate objects can not reproduce with variation and thus create offspring with differential survival characteristics. That’s not quite right but I”m doing my best.

    You are doing fine. I am not going to fuss over trivialities. The point is that the difference between an organism and an artifact, which is real and duly noted, does not change the fact that they also have something in common, namely the evidence for design. A written paragraph is different from both, but it also, has these same design indicators or characteristics. We can, for example, distinguish between gibberish (non design) and purposeful communication (design) without knowing the identity of the writer.

  42. Gregory:

    I note, for brief remark:

    one of the main questions between us is: where (in which fields of knowledge) is the term ‘design’ relevant and where is it irrelevant? Is ‘design’ irrelevant anywhere? For Universalistic IDists, *everything* is designed. But for those ID advocates who do not take such an extreme position, and from past discussions I’m assuming that you don’t, then that question holds significant interest and is worth dialogue.

    Strawman.

    With all due respect, you know, or should know that you cannot simply barge in and create your own terms and assertions, imposing them on an existing discussion. You also know that the focal scientific investigation of design theory is not universalistic but quite particular, namely whether relevant objects and features of aspects of the universe show signs that per empirical investigation can ground the claim that hey are best explained as designed.

    By injecting discussions on universalistic design, you are injecting code words that raise the clouding, polarising ideological debates over “supernaturalism vs naturalism,” in a context where the proper discussion is on empirical warrant and signs of design.

    I call on you to instead focus on the proper subject, warrant of the empirical inference as to design as cause based on observable sign and study of causal factors and the signs they leave behind.

    Yes, that is relevant to archaeology, it is relevant to arson investigations, it is relevant to the origin and body plan level forms of life, and it is relevant to the evident fine tuning of the cosmos that sets up a cosmos in which right from the basic physics, we have a habitat for C-chemistry, aqueous medium protein based cellular life forms.

    But the useful and reasonable direction of scientific investigation is not from worldviews to cases, but instead from cases to signs of underlying causal factors at work, and the empirical investigation of differential, adequate causes. We already know the damage being done by the Lewontinian a priori injection of a priori materialism on the study of the world of life and its roots.

    We need not go down that road again.

    G’day,

    KF

  43. Jerad:

    Evolutionary theory is actually quite simple and elegant and has a lot of explanatory power. Why is it being so miscategorised and demonised?

    LOL! Thanks for the laugh tonight! Sure, evolutionary theory is great. Other than the fact that it doesn’t explain OOL, doesn’t explain a single complex functional system, doesn’t explain new body plans and features, and is a kludge of ad hoc after-the-fact rationalizations and epicycles, it is wonderful.

    Many people have learned how to reproduce exactly ancient spearhead and axes.

    So I take it that when people have learned to build a protein or a stretch of DNA that contains a functional code you will withdraw your objection about not knowing whether there could be a designer? Good.

    Jerad, in several of the threads you have seemed to make an honest effort to engage with the issues, and you have raised some interesting questions that are worth examining. But I have to say in this particular thread I am disappointed that you seem incapable of understanding a very simple point.

    Look, if you disagree that a design inference is warranted in particular cases, fine. Let’s look at the details; let’s do the math; let’s see if the inference is warranted. But to dig in your heels and insist we have to have independent knowledge of the designer before we can make a design inference is simply ludicrous. Not having independent evidence of a designer before the fact is precisely why we make an inference. You can’t negate the substance of the inference simply by pounding the table and saying that you don’t think an inference should be permitted with biology. I don’t know; maybe you need to take some time and study up a bit on the historical sciences and the concept of ‘inference to the best explanation,’ and then we can have a rational discussion. As it is going, I’m not sure there is much point in continuing.

    StephenB is a lot more patient than I, however, so maybe you guys can make some headway.

  44. StephenB (38):

    No, I wasn’t saying that. On the contrary, I recognize that archeologists can uncover, to some extent, the “techniques” and materials that designer’s use, especially when they study something like pottery. At the same time, however, no archeologist could, as you claim, ever know THE process that hunters use to construct a spear because that very claim assumes that all spears are constructed the same way. As such, you were making an extravagant claim that cannot be defended.

    A lot of spears were constructed the same way for long periods of time. You should spend some time studying archaeology. Whole cultures are identified by the way they made points or tools because they kept the same techniques for hundreds of years.

    Meanwhile, you ignored all of my questions. I would be willing to help you work through them, but you must first confront them. Just do what I did. Answer the question with a either with a yes or no, followed by an explanation, or choose between the alternatives offered, again followed by an explanation.

    I thought I did address them all. I can see you’re got more comments directed at me so I guess you missed my responses at first. If I have missed a question just point it out or re-ask and I’ll do my best.

  45. StephenB (39):

    Oh gosh . . . let me think . . . I pick B. (An intelligent agent designed the spear)

    Good. Why did you rule out wind, air, and erosion as the cause and why did you infer that an intelligent agent was responsible?

    ‘Cause natural forces cannot create such complicated inanimate objects that are combinations of several different kinds of materials.

    Many people have learned how to reproduce exactly ancient spearhead and axes. If you are really interested you can find such things by googling them.

    Yes, one can, in a limited way, simulate the construction of this or that spear, but each spear is different. That means that there is no way to advance a theory for all spears. Still, I grant that we can know something about the process by observing the design, but we cannot discern the exact order of the steps. Maybe the head was carved out first, or maybe it was the handle. The broader point, though, is this: It is not necessary to know the identity of the designer in order to infer design.

    Not one technique for all spears. But it’s not hard to figure out the different varieties. Probably making spears was a group effort: someone made the points, someone else collected and formed the shafts, etc.

    It’s not necessary to know the designer’s identity, I never said that. But when you’re hypothesising a/several designer(s) millions of years before we have any evidence of any kind of intelligent creature capable of what you’re claiming then I think you’ve got a problem. I’m just asking for evidence there was any kind of intelligent designer around at the time.

    (40):

    OK. I am asserting that we can detect the presence of an intelligent cause (designer, agent) by observing the effects of that agent’s design, either in an artifact or an organism– without any knowledge of exactly who the designer is, exactly what kind of designer it is, or exactly what process was used.

    And I agree with you in many, many cases. Finding a watch in a forest, Stonehenge on Mars, a 40,000 year old bow, even hearths and hand axes. No problem.

    And all of those are inanimate objects that do not reproduce with variation. So they could not have had a parent. And they do not leave offspring. Metal doesn’t refine itself, pour into molds to create cogs and gears and then assemble itself. But living things have offspring which are not identical to their parents. Some of those offspring have offspring. Etc, etc, etc.

    You are doing fine. I am not going to fuss over trivialities. The point is that the difference between an organism and an artifact, which is real and duly noted, does not change the fact that they also have something in common, namely the evidence for design. A written paragraph is different from both, but it also, has these same design indicators or characteristics. We can, for example, distinguish between gibberish (non design) and purposeful communication (design) without knowing the identity of the writer.

    And organism and an artefact may both looked designed (some hand axes are really hard to spot though) but the ability to leave offspring with variation upon which cumulative selection can operate makes a HUGE difference.

    Let me know if I missed anything.

  46. Eric (43):

    LOL! Thanks for the laugh tonight! Sure, evolutionary theory is great. Other than the fact that it doesn’t explain OOL, doesn’t explain a single complex functional system, doesn’t explain new body plans and features, and is a kludge of ad hoc after-the-fact rationalizations and epicycles, it is wonderful.

    It doesn’t attempt to answer OoL questions. That’s always been clear. Before the first basic replicator evolutionary processes do not apply.

    So I take it that when people have learned to build a protein or a stretch of DNA that contains a functional code you will withdraw your objection about not knowing whether there could be a designer? Good.

    You bet, if you can prove there was someone around at the time when ID says life forms were designed with the ability and the equipment. Show me the evidence.

    Jerad, in several of the threads you have seemed to make an honest effort to engage with the issues, and you have raised some interesting questions that are worth examining. But I have to say in this particular thread I am disappointed that you seem incapable of understanding a very simple point.

    Look, if you disagree that a design inference is warranted in particular cases, fine. Let’s look at the details; let’s do the math; let’s see if the inference is warranted. But to dig in your heels and insist we have to have independent knowledge of the designer before we can make a design inference is simply ludicrous. Not having independent evidence of a designer before the fact is precisely why we make an inference. You can’t negate the substance of the inference simply by pounding the table and saying that you don’t think an inference should be permitted with biology. I don’t know; maybe you need to take some time and study up a bit on the historical sciences and the concept of ‘inference to the best explanation,’ and then we can have a rational discussion. As it is going, I’m not sure there is much point in continuing.

    I agree that there are many, many cases where making a design inference is sensible. You are welcome to make the design inference regarding the development of life but, as I don’t agree that life was designed, then I think you should look for some more evidence that there was a designer around at the time. It’s up to you. You don’t have to convince me. I’m answering questions from MY point of view only. I have no influence or money or postion that could possibly make a difference to anyone so anytime you wanna stop arguing with me is just fine.

    I also think that if members of the ID community are happy that they have correctly inferred design then it’s time for you/them to get on with things and move to the next level of work. You don’t need my approval to start doing more work. I’ve always encouraged ID proponents to get in the lab and produce some research.

    Anyway, I’ll continue to attempt to answer any questions. I’ll do my best to be cordial and respectful . . . I can get a bit sarky at times but don’t take it personally. But, as I said, I can only express my own opinion. I could be very, very wrong, obviously. I have thought about all these issues a lot. Part of the reason I value these discussions is the reflection it generates in me, it forces me to confront what I consider to be true. I do believe knowledge should be challenged and the best challenges come from other people.

  47. Asking where the concept of ‘design’ is not relevant is a ‘strawman,’ really?!

    FYI, at the conference focussed on ‘design’ mentioned above, I asked the presenters in the Universal Design session: “When would you decide *not* to design?” They didn’t directly answer either. Is it called ‘putting your finger on the pulse’?

    KF, what are examples of non-designed things? You’re on the hook until you can answer. Probably you’ve done it alreay, but I’ve just not seen it. Some people at UD will purposely not provide an answer to this question. And besides, the main issue is not ‘empirical inference’ but rather ‘reflexive inference.’ Do you acknowledge the empirical-reflexive distinction?

    Human Extension clearly identifies ‘non-designed’ things. So, thus far it is well ahead of you and the IDM on the topic of ‘scientificity’.

    Gregory

    p.s. Jerad probably meant ‘snarky’ rather than ‘sarky’ in #46, but because we are Commonly Human, we can understand what he meant by filling in the gaps!

  48. Gregory (47):

    Jerad probably meant ‘snarky’ rather than ‘sarky’ in #46, but because we are Commonly Human, we can understand what he meant by filling in the gaps!

    Wrong inference this time I’m afraid. I did mean ‘sarky’ as in sarcastic.

    But I agree: we are always filling in gaps. But sometimes we get it wrong as in paradolia.

  49. Gregory:

    KF, what are examples of non-designed things?

    The pattern of leaves on my lawn this morning. The dust on my dashboard. The sand on the beach of my lake. That lake. The islands on that lake. The waves on that lake. The way the clouds move through the sky.

    How long of a list do you want?

  50. Jerad:

    ‘Cause natural forces cannot create such complicated inanimate objects that are combinations of several different kinds of materials.

    That just killed abiogenesis. Before living organisms there HAD to be inanimate objects that are a combination of different kinds of materials.

    And Jerad, if living organisms are designed then the inference is they were designed to evolve/ evolved by design. That is why the OoL is so important.

  51. Jerad:

    Inanimate objects can not reproduce with variation and thus create offspring with differential survival characteristics.

    Umm, it’s that ability to reproduce that you must explain. You do NOT just get to invoke replication withjout explaining it and your position cannot explain it.

    That said, as YOU said, we find out about the designers (archaeology and forensics) by studying the design and all relevant evidence. And Intelligent Design is the (detection and) study of design in nature. The design itself is evidence for a designer.

  52. “Intelligent design is a good explanation for a number of biochemical systems, but I should insert a word of caution. Intelligent design theory has to be seen in context: it does not try to explain everything. We live in a complex world where lots of different things can happen. When deciding how various rocks came to be shaped the way they are a geologist might consider a whole range of factors: rain, wind, the movement of glaciers, the activity of moss and lichens, volcanic action, nuclear explosions, asteroid impact, or the hand of a sculptor.

    The shape of one rock might have been determined primarily by one mechanism, the shape of another rock by another mechanism.

    Similarly, evolutionary biologists have recognized that a number of factors might have affected the development of life: common descent, natural selection, migration, population size, founder effects (effects that may be due to the limited number of organisms that begin a new species), genetic drift (spread of “neutral,” nonselective mutations), gene flow (the incorporation of genes into a population from a separate population), linkage (occurrence of two genes on the same chromosome), and much more. The fact that some biochemical systems were designed by an intelligent agent does not mean that any of the other factors are not operative, common, or important.”- Dr Michael Behe

  53. Thanks for the correction, Jerad. I hadn’t heard of ‘sarky’ before.

    Joe, are you a religious man, a theist?

    “And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.” (Matthew 10: 30)

    Isn’t that an example of Big-ID? Mung surely (and probably Melissa) believes the pattern of leaves on your lawn this morning is ‘designed,’ Big Tent treatment aside.

  54. Gregory:

    Joe, are you a religious man, a theist?

    I do not deny the existence of God. But I do not go to church and I do not worship. And yes the hairs on my head are very numbered. But I am growing hair in other places- places that didn’t have hair before.

    And please, stop telling me what other people believe. You do not get to do that and have it mean something. Well it means that you have issues…

  55. StephenB,

    Are you really, honestly saying that you don’t recognise or acknowledge all the work that hase been done by over a century of archaeologists and other scientists to figure out how ancient man accomplished certain things?

    No, I wasn’t saying that. On the contrary, I recognize that archeologists can uncover, to some extent, the “techniques” and materials that designer’s use….

    You replaced Jerad’s term “ancient man” with “designer”. That’s a sleight of hand that isn’t justified. The agents responsible for the artifacts that Jerad mentions are known to have existed at the time the artifacts were created and their physical form, capabilities, and limitations are well understood. Even their techniques for producing the artifacts are known.

    The designer of ID, in stark contrast, has never been defined, has never been shown to exist, and has no specified capabilities or limitations specified. As Jerad has been pointing out, no evidence exists for such a being or beings. Until it does, generalizing from known entities is premature and unjustified.

  56. Thanks, I’ll stop with you here and your ‘no deny, no worship’ so-called ID position, Joe.

    Now waiting for others to respond, Eric in particular.

  57. Joe (50):

    ‘Cause natural forces cannot create such complicated inanimate objects that are combinations of several different kinds of materials.

    That just killed abiogenesis. Before living organisms there HAD to be inanimate objects that are a combination of different kinds of materials.

    Inanimate compounds and molecules are not the same as spears and hand azes. Chemical compounds can form bonds and react to other compounds.

    And Jerad, if living organisms are designed then the inference is they were designed to evolve/ evolved by design. That is why the OoL is so important.

    IF they were designed. It’s your contention they were designed to evolve, I don’t think all ID proponents share that view.

    (51):

    Inanimate objects can not reproduce with variation and thus create offspring with differential survival characteristics.

    Umm, it’s that ability to reproduce that you must explain. You do NOT just get to invoke replication withjout explaining it and your position cannot explain it.

    I can’t explain the first basic replicator, that’s not part of evolutionary theory. If that’s a deal breaker for you then so be it.

    That said, as YOU said, we find out about the designers (archaeology and forensics) by studying the design and all relevant evidence. And Intelligent Design is the (detection and) study of design in nature. The design itself is evidence for a designer.

    Inferring design for inanimate objects is different than with living forms that can descend with modification. Also, in all things we have inferred design for we find other evidence which tells us something about the designers.

    You’re asking that sciences accepts the design inference for living systmes (which is not agreed with) AND you haven’t got any independent evidence that there were any designers around at the time.

    If I were an ID proponent I’d be looking for more evidence of the designers, I’d be honing the design detection procedures by testing them on many, many cases and I’d be asking funding agencies for money to do research. But that’s just me.

  58. Jerad:

    . . . we knew there were humans around at the time.

    According to Jerad, we cannot infer design if we did not know (independently from the artifact) that there was a designer around at the time. Let’s follow this logic (cough, cough) to its conclusion.

    Things Jerad must hold to be true:

    1. If we discover an archeological artifact (tool, building, written tablet) that dates prior to the time we know humans were around, we cannot infer design and we must conclude it came about through natural processes. Whereas any reasonable archaeologist will immediately recognize the object as designed and therefore infer that there were designers around, even though it was not known beforehand and even though there is not independent corroborating evidence, Jerad disagrees. Until we know, independently, that there was a designer around at the time, we cannot infer design, he argues. Yet it is precisely the existence of the artifact that speaks to the existence of a designer.

    2. SETI is, by essential definition, never going to be able to identify that there is intelligent life out there. If SETI receives a clear, unambiguous complex specified signal from some other planet the SETI folks will infer that there must be a designer of that signal out there. Jerad, on the other hand, informs us that we cannot make that inference because we don’t have separate confirming knowledge of the existence of those intelligent beings in the place and at the time in question.

    —–

    The design inference is used all the time. It is an appropriate and common approach in the historical sciences, in forensics, archaeology and many other areas. Jerad seeks to stand all this on its head and say that we can never infer there was a designer unless we already know there was a designer. This is obviously circular, is against our experience, is not the way the inference to the best explanation works, and smacks more of an a priori commitment to a materialist creation myth than an objective view of the evidence.

  59. Gregory @28:

    Bottom line, Eric, I’m in agreement with you in studying ‘design,’ but not in agreement with you in studying what Big-ID calls ‘design/Design,’ which supposedly proceeded from an unembodied, transcendent designer/Designer, without being allowed to consider either the ‘design process’ or the designer/Designer (him/Him or her/Herself) as part of the Theory. The ‘design theories’ presented at the conference I attended are the paradigm home-base category of ‘design’ in science and industry; Big-ID/ID Theory is attempting a semantic wedge-waggle in a different direction.

    Thanks, Gregory, and apologies for the late reply.

    I don’t know what half the people mean who talk about unembodied, transcendent, supernatural and so on. I have no interest in that. I am interested in the question of design in nature, certainly biology, and, to a lesser extent, cosmology. I am interested in the origin and diversity of life. I do not think ID can pinpoint the identity or exact motives of any designer, although we know something of a designer’s capabilities by studying the artifacts in question.

    ID, and I mean ID proper as defined and discussed by the major ID proponents, seeks only to identify whether there was a designer. It does not seek to identify the designer with any particular philosophical, religious, or personal viewpoint. Those semi-paranoid individuals who are convinced intelligent design is just a sneaky, conspiritorial attempt to inject creationism into public life and the classroom (Nick Matzke, for example), are constantly pounding the table and demanding that ID proponents just come right out and publicly identify who the designer is already! That ID does not do so is, in my opinion, a tremendous strength, not a weakness. And I don’t mean a tactical strength for some public program of infiltration, I mean a strenth of the theory itself.

    Yes, ID is a big tent, just as evolution is (ardent athiests, agnostics, theistic evolutionists, etc.). This means that there is a wide variety of individuals in the camp and sometimes those individuals proclaim that ID supports their personal philosophical and religious commitment. So be it. That makes the conversation occasionally messy, but it is not a problem with ID itself and certainly does not mean all ID proponents should adopt the same viewpoint. We just have to be clear about what we can ascertain and what we cannot ascertain from the evidence itself and acknowledge that any further conclusions are not part of the design inference.

    If someone doesn’t like the fact that ID does not identify the designer, oh well. That is a failure of their personal expectations, not a failure of the theory. The theory is extremely limited and focused; it is not a theory of everything. It is what it is. If people want to go beyond the theory and ask follow-up questions, fine. But that does not in any way mean that the theory has not made a contribution. It is perfectly legitimate for the theory to ask some basic, foundational questions without being expected to be a theory of everything and answer all questions that may arise from the implications of design.

    Well, I’m repeating a bit, so I’ll end. I hope that helps clarify my position.

  60. Gregory:

    Thanks, I’ll stop with you here and your ‘no deny, no worship’ so-called ID position, Joe.

    Umm Intelligent Design has nothing to do with religion.

  61. Jerad

    And I agree with you in many, many cases. Finding a watch in a forest, Stonehenge on Mars, a 40,000 year old bow, even hearths and hand axes. No problem.

    Yes, that’s right. But why do you say “no problem?” What is it about a 40,000 year old bow that makes its design so obvious? How do you know that wind, air, and erosion didn’t form it? That is the question I am asking.

    Is it not the indicators of design in the artifact? If not that, then how else would you know? Naturally, some things are more obviously designed than others. That doesn’t represent any kind of objection to Intelligent Design. Part of the ID hypothesis makes exactly that point. Some things that are designed will not be recognized as such because the design indicators are not altogether obvious. Others, like the 40,000 year old bow, will be recognized because the design indicators are, indeed, screaming out to be recognized.

    And organism and an artefact may both looked designed (some hand axes are really hard to spot though) but the ability to leave offspring with variation upon which cumulative selection can operate makes a HUGE difference.

    What you are describing is a process. Intelligent Design detects design in features, not processes. Philosophically, one could easily make the case that the process you describe had to be designed, but ID science doesn’t attempt anything like that. We are discussing micro design patterns. If we can detect the paragraph’s design by recognizing the specifically arranged sequences of the letters, why can we not also detect the organism’s design by recognizing the specifically arranged sequences of nucleotide molecules? Clearly, the design indicators are there.

    But when you’re hypothesising a/several designer(s) millions of years before we have any evidence of any kind of intelligent creature capable of what you’re claiming then I think you’ve got a problem. I’m just asking for evidence there was any kind of intelligent designer around at the time.

    If design indicators are present in an organism or an artifact, then an intelligent agent had to be around to place them there, which would be true for a written paragraph, a sand castle, a 40,000 year old bow, or a DNA molecule.

  62. Jerad:

    I can’t explain the first basic replicator, that’s not part of evolutionary theory. If that’s a deal breaker for you then so be it.

    It is a deal breaker for any evolutionary theory as how living organisms came to be directly impacts how they diversified.

    Jerad:

    Inferring design for inanimate objects is different than with living forms that can descend with modification.

    Cuz you say so?

    Also, in all things we have inferred design for we find other evidence which tells us something about the designers.

    Not always. Not required. And we have observed design in biology and in the universe, starting with our own solar system. From that we infer the universe was designed for scientific investigation, ie discovery.

    You’re asking that sciences accepts the design inference for living systmes (which is not agreed with) AND you haven’t got any independent evidence that there were any designers around at the time.

    No, just no evidence that you will accept. And I find that strange given what you do accept.

    The design is evidence for the designer, Jerad. Science doesn’t care if you don’t like that.

  63. onlooker:

    The designer of ID, in stark contrast, has never been defined, has never been shown to exist, and has no specified capabilities or limitations specified.

    1- Intelligent Design is NOT about the designer.

    2- The design is evidence for the existence of a designer

    3- Designers, successful designers anyway, have the capabilities to design what it is they are designing

    That said, your position’s mechanisms have been tested and been failed. So stop whining already.

  64. onlooker

    You replaced Jerad’s term “ancient man” with “designer”. That’s a sleight of hand that isn’t justified.

    The ancient hunter that designed the spear was its designer. Jerad understands that. It would seem that you do not.

    The agents responsible for the artifacts that Jerad mentions are known to have existed at the time the artifacts were created and their physical form, capabilities, and limitations are well understood. Even their techniques for producing the artifacts are known.

    We already know what is known. The question on the table is how they (archeologists) came to know it.

    The designer of ID, in stark contrast, has never been defined, has never been shown to exist, and has no specified capabilities or limitations specified.

    The designer has been shown to exist by virtue of the design patterns inherent in the organisms. There is no need to define the designer or speculate on limitations and capabilities. That is the job of philosophy and religion.

    As Jerad has been pointing out, no evidence exists for such a being or beings. Until it does, generalizing from known entities is premature and unjustified.

    The evidence is in the design patterns. It is a perfectly valid inference to say that [a] Each time we find the indicators for purposeful formation or fine tuning in an artifact, an intelligent agent was responsible, therefore [b], if we find those same indicators either in a micro marvel (DNA molecule) or a macro marvel (fine tuning cosmological constants), they too were most likely designed.

  65. ‘… they are actually using the Science of the Gaps fallacy.’
    Or the fabled ‘Promissory Note’.

    Materialism, where science and finance meet – in more ways than one.

    Actually, where science, finance and fantasy meet – just like in our real, topsy-turvy world, where non-accountable mega-fraudsters rule.

    It seems that science is a quite accurate reflection of the real, fraud-based Western economies – also driven by materialists of the first water.

    ‘Seek ye first the Kingdom of Mammon, and all things will be added to you;’ including, in due course, it would seem, a global, economic catastrophe for the wider public.

  66. Eric (58):

    1. If we discover an archeological artifact (tool, building, written tablet) that dates prior to the time we know humans were around, we cannot infer design and we must conclude it came about through natural processes. Whereas any reasonable archaeologist will immediately recognize the object as designed and therefore infer that there were designers around, even though it was not known beforehand and even though there is not independent corroborating evidence, Jerad disagrees. Until we know, independently, that there was a designer around at the time, we cannot infer design, he argues. Yet it is precisely the existence of the artifact that speaks to the existence of a designer.

    I have said repeatedly that there are many, many cases where making a design inference is quite sensible. Especially when talking about inanimate objects which have no ability to descend with modification. I agreed with Joe a long time ago that if we found something like Stonehenge on Mars I, like everyone else, would immediately assume it was designed.

    I have also said, clearly and repeatedly, that when the design inference is contentious or not clear, especially regarding life forms, that more evidence would help solidify the case for design. In my opinion.

    I have to also say that every single artefact that we have found that any reasonable person would say was designed has come along with additional evidence for the people who designed and used that artefact. ID proponents seem to want to live in some kind of rarified atmosphere where logic and inference are sufficient to prove existence. Inferring design is frequently warranted certainly. But it’s never the only step towards defining and understanding the people who made the artefact in question.

    2. SETI is, by essential definition, never going to be able to identify that there is intelligent life out there. If SETI receives a clear, unambiguous complex specified signal from some other planet the SETI folks will infer that there must be a designer of that signal out there. Jerad, on the other hand, informs us that we cannot make that inference because we don’t have separate confirming knowledge of the existence of those intelligent beings in the place and at the time in question.

    That is a charicature of my positon. IF we receive a signal that clearly could not originate via natural causes then I too would infer some intelligent source. And already I would be able to draw certain conclusions about the beings who were responsible. I could tell you something about their level of technology, based on the distance the signal travelled (if that could be ascertained) I could tell you something about when they had that level of technology. Depending on what was in the signal I might be able to make some inferences regarding what kind of civilisation they had.

    This argument that design and information can be separated from context is not very productive. Sometimes even the medium is the message.

    The design inference is used all the time. It is an appropriate and common approach in the historical sciences, in forensics, archaeology and many other areas. Jerad seeks to stand all this on its head and say that we can never infer there was a designer unless we already know there was a designer. This is obviously circular, is against our experience, is not the way the inference to the best explanation works, and smacks more of an a priori commitment to a materialist creation myth than an objective view of the evidence.

    I have admitted repeatedly that inferring design makes sense in many situations and is done all the time. I have even given examples.

    I don’t mind people disagreeing with me but this is beginning to feel like wilful misinterpretation. Feel free to disagree with me but that doesn’t require making a strawman of my views and repeated statements on this forum.

  67. StephanB (61):

    Yes, that’s right. But why do you say “no problem?” What is it about a 40,000 year old bow that makes its design so obvious? How do you know that wind, air, and erosion didn’t form it? That is the question I am asking.

    A bow would have signs of working on it which would be extremely unlikely to have occurred naturally and would parallel similar signs which we have observed on other bows. Partially it’s just the design itself which is still being used albeit in a somewhat modified form. Not in a self-replicating fashion but there is a clear tradition of bow-making amongst humans since before recorded history. And there are lots and lots of examples throughout.

    Is it not the indicators of design in the artifact? If not that, then how else would you know? Naturally, some things are more obviously designed than others. That doesn’t represent any kind of objection to Intelligent Design. Part of the ID hypothesis makes exactly that point. Some things that are designed will not be recognized as such because the design indicators are not altogether obvious. Others, like the 40,000 year old bow, will be recognized because the design indicators are, indeed, screaming out to be recognized.

    Certainly. Some objects, like hand axes, are much, much more problematical. I have seen archaeologists disagree about whether a stone was or was not an ancient hand axe.

    What you are describing is a process. Intelligent Design detects design in features, not processes. Philosophically, one could easily make the case that the process you describe had to be designed, but ID science doesn’t attempt anything like that. We are discussing micro design patterns. If we can detect the paragraph’s design by recognizing the specifically arranged sequences of the letters, why can we not also detect the organism’s design by recognizing the specifically arranged sequences of nucleotide molecules? Clearly, the design indicators are there.

    No, it is not clear there is conscious design in the sequence of nucleotide bases. The vast majority of scientists are not disagreeing with you because there is some materialist conspiracy to keep ID off the table. They disagree with you because you have not proven that the design inference is warranted in the biological case. You cannot use the same flat criteria for living system that you do for inanimate, non-reproducing with modification life forms. Life forms adapt to their environment. Non-living objects cannot do that. There is a huge difference.

    If design indicators are present in an organism or an artifact, then an intelligent agent had to be around to place them there, which would be true for a written paragraph, a sand castle, a 40,000 year old bow, or a DNA molecule.

    IF they are present. And, whenever they are present, we also get additional information about the people who made and used those objects. We have not found clear and unambiguous signs of design in life forms and we have no extra supporting information about any designers.

  68. Joe (62):

    I can’t explain the first basic replicator, that’s not part of evolutionary theory. If that’s a deal breaker for you then so be it.

    It is a deal breaker for any evolutionary theory as how living organisms came to be directly impacts how they diversified.

    I disagree. However the first basic replicator came about, assuming it was well-enough adapted to the then earth environment it would have reproduced with variation and the whole process gets started.

    Inferring design for inanimate objects is different than with living forms that can descend with modification.

    Cuz you say so?

    You know, I spend a lot of time trying hard to answer everyone’s questions honestly and to the best of my ability. I don’t mind if you disagree with me, I expect it actually. But it would be nice to be granted at least a little respect in that I have at least tried to take the discussion seriously.

    Also, in all things we have inferred design for we find other evidence which tells us something about the designers.

    Not always. Not required. And we have observed design in biology and in the universe, starting with our own solar system. From that we infer the universe was designed for scientific investigation, ie discovery.

    Let’s look at things that are not contentious. Artefacts we all agree are designed. I may be wrong but I can’t think of any object of that type which hasn’t also, in itself or in its context, brought along with it additional information about its creators.

    You’re asking that sciences accepts the design inference for living systmes (which is not agreed with) AND you haven’t got any independent evidence that there were any designers around at the time.

    No, just no evidence that you will accept. And I find that strange given what you do accept.

    The design is evidence for the designer, Jerad. Science doesn’t care if you don’t like that.

    Oh my, I do leave lots of typos despite my best efforts.

    We seem to have different criteria for evidence. I like to be very sure before I make momentous decisions. Which is why I believe in universal common descent with modification. Lots and lots and lots of evidence.

    You are right about one thing: science doesn’t care what I think. I just happen to agree with what science has to say about the development of life on earth after the introduction of the first basic replicator.

  69. StephenB (64):

    The designer has been shown to exist by virtue of the design patterns inherent in the organisms. There is no need to define the designer or speculate on limitations and capabilities. That is the job of philosophy and religion.

    Are you willing to consider that the design inference could be incorrect? I’m assuming that would not ‘do away with’ the designer in your opinion. Given that, why is it so important that life was designed?

    I have to admit I am sometimes confused why some people are so insistent on the design inference being true. It’s a hypothesis, one that is under scrutiny and is very contentious. But if it stands or falls will that change anyone’s mind in the ID camp regarding the existence of ‘the designer’?

  70. Jerad

    No, it is not clear there is conscious design in the sequence of nucleotide bases.

    If the specified arrangement of the letters in a paragraph clearly indicate design, as you have acknowledged, then the specified arrangement of nucleotides in an organism also clearly indicate design for the same reason. The indicators are the indicators. If you can recognize the design in a 40,000 year old without knowing anything about the designer, then you can also recognize the design in a DNA molecule without knowing anything about the designer, unless, of course, your ideology prevents you from facing the facts.

    The vast majority of scientists are not disagreeing with you because there is some materialist conspiracy to keep ID off the table. They disagree with you because you have not proven that the design inference is warranted in the biological case.

    They are disagreeing with me solely for ideological reasons. They know that the evidence is against them. That is why they appeal to methodological naturalism in an desperate attempt to rule out or disqualify the very same evidence that refutes their position. They have nothing. We know it; they know it; you know it.

    You cannot use the same flat criteria for living system that you do for inanimate, non-reproducing with modification life forms.

    We can if we are referring to those things that they have in common. In fact, both do have something in common that can be analyzed–its called information and it exists– instantiated in matter but not made of matter.

    IF they [design indicators] are present.

    IF? Are you denying that the design indicators (information) are present in the DNA molelcule?

    We have not found clear and unambiguous signs of design in life forms and we have no extra supporting information about any designers.

    On the contrary. We do have clear evidence of design in life forms. On the other hand, we have no evidence to support the proposition that information can arise without design.

    My argument: I can present millions of examples of design produced information, complete with the evidence.

    Your argument: You can present no evidence at all for even one case of information being produced without design. You take it all on faith, but your faith is misplaced. Darwinism cannot be defended.


  71. It is a deal breaker for any evolutionary theory as how living organisms came to be directly impacts how they diversified.

    Jerad:

    I disagree.

    Good for you. What you are saying makes as much sense as saying cars were designed but how everything works is just random gear interactions.

    However the first basic replicator came about, assuming it was well-enough adapted to the then earth environment it would have reproduced with variation and the whole process gets started.

    Except we have evidence for the opposite. We have sustained replication of RNAs, we have variation, but nothing new, only faster replication. And when AVIDA is given real world parameters it does basically nothing.

    And I used to accept universal common descent, that is until I looked at the evidence and saw there wasn’t any that explained the transformations required.

    No way to test to see if a fish can ever evolve into something other than a fish. Never mind doing so via natural selection and/ or genetic drift.

    It just so happens that our moon is 400x closer to us than the sun. and it just so happens that the moon is 400x smaller. The two together give us total eclipses.

    Take that together with the fact the moon is moving away from us. Is it just a coincidence then that the two are lined up like that, to give us really good and useful scientific information about the universe, just when there are observers around to make sense of it?

    We wouldn’t exist without a large moon. and we wouldn’t be able to amke important scientific discoveries without it being just-so.

  72. Jerad

    Are you willing to consider that the design inference could be incorrect? I’m assuming that would not ‘do away with’ the designer in your opinion. Given that, why is it so important that life was designed?

    My confidence in the validity of a design argument depends on the effect that is being observed. For example, I find no scientific evidence for any claim that moon craters are designed even though, in principle, they could be. On the other hand, I find much scientific evidence that the universe was finely tuned for life.

    But to get to your question, yes, I am willing to consider the possibility that a given design inference could be wrong. But, as indicated above, each instance must be considered on its own merits. Let’s consider the bacterial flagellum:

    ID scientists tell me that it was likely designed because it is irreducibly complex (all parts must be present before it will work), which means that it could not have been the result of a slow, gradual, evolutionary process.

    On the other hand, Darwinists tell me that it was, indeed, the product of an unguided, materialistic, evolutionary process. I am willing to believe that ID could be wrong and the that the Darwinists could be right, but when I ask Darwinists to show me the evidence for an evolutionary pathway to the bacterial flagellum, or to even render a guess about how such a pathway might even be possible, they have nothing to say.

    When one side (ID) says “here is what I think and here is the evidence,” and the other side (Darwinism) says, “shut up and just take my word for it,” I have no difficulty in choosing the former over the latter as the most reasonable option.

    I have to admit I am sometimes confused why some people are so insistent on the design inference being true. It’s a hypothesis, one that is under scrutiny and is very contentious. But if it stands or falls will that change anyone’s mind in the ID camp regarding the existence of ‘the designer’?

    You are no less insistent in challenging design arguments than I am in advancing them. So, the desire to be heard (and to be right) is not one sided.

    I can’t speak for anyone else, but if it turns out that I am wrong about the scientific inference to design, it would pose no problem for me since I know from philosophy that the universe had to have a first cause that is immaterial, eternal, and personal. The existence of Divine creator (which some men call God) was proven centuries before the advent of modern science.

    At the same time, I think ID science matters because it provides empirical evidence that man was not the product of a purposeless, mindless evolutionary process. In my judgment, the Darwinist view is destructive to the culture and dis-empowering to the individual since it militates against the idea of intellectual and moral development.

  73. Jerad @66, regarding SETI:

    IF we receive a signal that clearly could not originate via natural causes then I too would infer some intelligent source. And already I would be able to draw certain conclusions about the beings who were responsible. I could tell you something about their level of technology, based on the distance the signal travelled (if that could be ascertained) I could tell you something about when they had that level of technology. Depending on what was in the signal I might be able to make some inferences regarding what kind of civilisation they had.

    Good. Now we are getting somewhere.

    So you agree that it is possible in principle to infer the existence of a designer from an artifact, even if we don’t have any other information about the designer beyond what we can ascertain from the artifact itself.

    Correct?

  74. BTW, Jerad, I know you were asking StephenB so I apologize for jumping in, but for whatever it is worth just to offer a second perspective, I don’t have any philosophical issue with the idea of evolution generally. My issue with evolution (that is, big evolution, grand evolution, OOL, blind-watchmaker kind of evolution) is that it is a joke. It is a joke logically, empirically, and experientially.

    I would be very interested in any evidence that blind natural processes can produce a highly-scalable, massively-parallel system architecture incorporating a super-dense, information-rich, multi-level, multi-directional database structure based on a digital coding system with storage, retrieval and translation mechanisms, utilizing concatenation, file allocation and bit parity algorithms. I would welcome such evidence and would view it as a legitimate contending answer for the origin of life and would also view it as having eliminated the need for a design explanation.

    But I prefer to go on the best of what we do know, not place my hopes on some promissory note of some as-yet-undiscovered law or future discovery that will overturn much of what we currently understand about cause and effect and our experience with physics and chemistry.

    So I would be very interested in such evidence, but I am not holding my breath.

  75. Hi Eric,
    No need to apologise. The pace at UD moves too fast for me most of the time anyway. I appreciate your candid approach to the topic.

    This came to me right as I woke up this morning: If there is a God and if God is a Designer, then what are examples of things that aren’t designed? Iow, if there is a God and if God is a Designer, isn’t everything designed? As a general rule, one can’t get something from nothing. Or if one can, one needs to posit something God-like to do it. So ID Theory doesn’t actually posit a ‘designer/Designer,’ but what is needed for the task (origins of life) is something God-like. Are we agreed on that?

    In one slide, I mentioned ID at the ‘other kind of design’ conference and there were some Americans in the room, which means they likely had heard about Intelligent Design Theory (it has made communicative waves, especially in America). I openly said exactly what you have just written here at UD; that ID Theory doesn’t speak about or even acknowledge the designer/Designer as part of its theory. Then I suggested what the designer/Designer *might be* to the audience as…Aliens and someone immediately jumped in and said ‘of course they mean God.’ Everybody knows this already and it’s not a big secret. Intelligent Design Theory is a theory that studies nature as if it is ‘divine technology.’

    And you know what, Eric, I’m o.k. with acknowledging that. The key is that this should be explicitly stated and isn’t because ID Theory so desperately wants to be a specifically nature-only (read: natural) scientific theory, such that it can be accepted as a nature-only scientific theory. Thus, what I called for in the Human Extension thread (and I’d have been glad for your participation there, Eric – e.g. notice the sandcastle escape) is to acknowledge that ID Theory is actually, in the minds (and hearts) of most of its proponents and also its leaders (there is no single theorist of ID, and if there were, Charles Thaxton also fits this perspective), not just a natural scientific theory about origins, but additionally a ‘science, philosophy & theology/worldview’ theory about origins. Do you see anything wrong with that contention?

    “I do not think ID can pinpoint the identity or exact motives of any designer, although we know something of a designer’s capabilities by studying the artifacts in question.” – Eric

    Human Extension (neo-id) aims in part to pinpoint the identity of designers (small-d) and in many cases reveals the motives. In teleological sciences, motives for designing, choosing, creating, making and acting (cf. agency) are very important. It also asks the question: where have we come from and where are we extending to? Additionally, it provides a dynamic meaning of choice, which ID Theory lacks, in accepting that there are intensions upon us as human beings, which both ultimately and proximately shape our choices and actions.

    In this way, Human Extension is a much more significant approach than ID Theory because 1) It involves designers/intelligent agents and (often, but not always) their motives, 2) It can openly draw on all of the ‘design theories’ represented at the conference, which is the mainstream of ‘design’ thinking in science and industry (including engineering and computer science), 3) It is futuristic and predictive, in contrast with ID Theory, which looks to the past (it speaks of ‘designed’ instead of ‘designing’) and does not offer much (if any) predictive power. There are many other reasons, but those are enough to start. Does that address your contention of “knowing something of a designer’s capabilities by studying the artefacts,” Eric?

    “ID, and I mean ID proper as defined and discussed by the major ID proponents, seeks only to identify whether there was a designer.” – Eric

    To be fair in accepting that, Eric, I think you then need to write it as “whether there was a designer/Designer” because of the implications and because the focus of the topic (as you along with ID leaders present it) is origins of life. This would improve communication and lessen confusion because those 1400 people and many, many more who speak about ‘design theory’ actually mean ‘designer’ small-d, but do *not* intend any implication or hint of Designer Big-D. Is that language clarification worth making in your view?

    As for not identifying the ‘designer/Designer’ specifically, I agree with why you call it a strength, but also now point out how it is a significant weakness. It lowers the explanatory power of the theory and dogmatically disallows and study of ‘design/Design processes’ or ‘design/Design strategies’ because the active verb ‘designing/Designing’ in English requires a subject, i.e. the designer/Designer. That to me is a major weakness, granted that it is a weakness that ID Theory openly embraces. You’re surely right that not identifying the (hypothetical) designer/Designer is “not a failure of the theory.” But to suggest it is only strength and not weakness of any kind is imo going too far from reality.

    “I am interested in the question of design in nature, certainly biology, and, to a lesser extent, cosmology.” – Eric

    I’d suggest you check out Adrian Bejan’s book (2012) “Design in Nature.” I wrote about it here. His ‘design in nature’ approach includes biology and, to a lesser extent, cosmology. He doesn’t agree with the ‘implications’ of ID Theory, and likewise says ‘design in nature’ doesn’t require a ‘designer/Designer,’ the latter which is a topic of religion.

    Like ID Theory, Bejan doesn’t identify a ‘designer/Designer’ either, but he is also personally irreligious. So it makes ‘reflexive’ sense that there could be no ‘designer/Designer’ included in his theory (so-called Constructal Law). Otoh, *all* of the ID leaders (with the exception of Berlinski, who offers no positive evidence of ‘design/Design’ in his writings) are religious and one of the early ID goals of P. Johnson was to counter-act ‘naturalism,’ ‘scientism’ and ‘secularism’ among other ideologies that are (generally) positioned against religion and theology. So, unless (and because) they are being entirely irreflexive, that is the only reason ID leaders *shouldn’t* include talk of their (hypothetical) designer/Designer as part of the theory. And of course, in their ‘non-technical’ works, i.e. outside ‘the Theory’ proper, when they speak regularly in evangelical churches, etc. they do talk about the Designer as the Abrahamic God.

    But I don’t think you’re denying this, Eric, so probably we are in agreement about these ‘big tent’ ID activities.
    Also, this was addressed by you to Jerad, so now I must apologise for jumping in with an alternative view: “I don’t have any philosophical issue with the idea of evolution generally. My issue with evolution (that is, big evolution, grand evolution, OOL, blind-watchmaker kind of evolution) is that it is a joke. It is a joke logically, empirically, and experientially.”

    As for me, I do have a philosophical issue with the idea of (big/grand or small) evolution, but very little problem with evolution as a legitimate concept in biology. (Notice I didn’t mention Darwin, let’s just leave him out of this for the moment.) If what you’re saying is that ultimately ‘origins’ don’t ‘evolve’ into existence, which is a philosophical position, then I don’t think you’ll find much resistance as long as you define evolution as an unoriginal force. This is why Dobzhansky stated very clearly: “Prebiological natural selection is a contradiction of terms.”

    But if you’re suggesting that organisms, once created/originated/instantiated don’t evolve, i.e. if that is what you call a ‘joke,’ then you would seem to fall into the category of anti-evolutionists that give those who are openly opposing evolutionary theories in a specific and pointed way, such as myself, a bad name. As far as I can tell, Eric, I’m one of the very few people who constantly asks the question and rarely gets an answer: What are examples of things that don’t evolve? Other than God, could you offer some examples of ‘things that don’t evolve,’ as part of what you mean by saying you think evolution is a joke? You’re welcome to post your answers on my Blog if that is your preference to posting them in this thread.
    Human Extension is an example of ‘non-evolutionary’ change-over-time. It is a reflexive, teleological approach that involves goals, purposes and directions (and changes of directions). It overcomes the ideology of universal evolutionism by establishing clear space for discussion of ‘things that don’t evolve’ and instead for ‘things that extend.’

    Because ID Theory doesn’t study human-made things, because it doesn’t study ‘designers’ (in this case, no Big-D needed), because it is focussed on origins of life and origins of biological information (and sometimes, origins of humanity), because it doesn’t study design processes or design strategies, design goals or design implementation, it is a very different theory than the vast majority of ‘design theories,’ which were presented at the large international conference on ‘design’ that I just attended.

    Would you agree with this, Eric: ID Theory is a different ‘design/Design theory’ than those ‘other design theories’ (including Universal Design, for which I provided a link)? Iow, would you agree that ID Theory posits an ‘other kind of design/Design’ from what most people mean when they say ‘design’? This question is aimed at Myth #6.

  76. StephenB (70):

    If the specified arrangement of the letters in a paragraph clearly indicate design, as you have acknowledged, then the specified arrangement of nucleotides in an organism also clearly indicate design for the same reason. The indicators are the indicators. If you can recognize the design in a 40,000 year old without knowing anything about the designer, then you can also recognize the design in a DNA molecule without knowing anything about the designer, unless, of course, your ideology prevents you from facing the facts.

    Well, if I’m not going to enter into a discussion of how the first basic replicator arose then I guess I can’t discuss how the genetic code arose.

    I will just say though: there could have been more than one genetic code just like there is more than one human language and ‘alphabet’. When we see all of life, with some minor exceptions, it’s natural to assume that there was single first replicator. Of, if there were others with different genetic codes, they died out before we learned to read the code. A designed system would not have to follow that rule. A designed system, like human languages, could have multiple different codes. But ours doesn’t.

    They are disagreeing with me solely for ideological reasons. They know that the evidence is against them. That is why they appeal to methodological naturalism in an desperate attempt to rule out or disqualify the very same evidence that refutes their position. They have nothing. We know it; they know it; you know it.

    Which is not true. I know lots of biologists. And I know myself. I’m not arguing from some predetermine philosophical postion. I have no agenda.

    IF? Are you denying that the design indicators (information) are present in the DNA molelcule?

    I don’t think it’s been shown that DNA could not have arisen via natural, non-directed processes yet.

    On the contrary. We do have clear evidence of design in life forms. On the other hand, we have no evidence to support the proposition that information can arise without design.

    My argument: I can present millions of examples of design produced information, complete with the evidence.

    Your argument: You can present no evidence at all for even one case of information being produced without design. You take it all on faith, but your faith is misplaced. Darwinism cannot be defended.

    Darwinism begins after the first basic replicator so it’s defence rests on the material evidence generated after that: fossils, genomes, morphologies, geographic deposits and breeding records.

    I can present many cases of design as well. But they all involve inanimate objects. Self-replicating systems which can descend with modification are different.

    If ID wants to hang it’s whole case on the origin of the first basic replicator that’s fine by me. But since there is no physical evidence of how it arose then your argument comes down to your notions of information. Are you sure you’re right about those? Are you really sure that chance chemical bonding over millions of years couldn’t have led to something like a simple virus which then reproduced with modification?

  77. Joe (71):

    Good for you. What you are saying makes as much sense as saying cars were designed but how everything works is just random gear interactions.

    Except that cars don’t replicate on their own. So that’s not a fair comparison.

    Except we have evidence for the opposite. We have sustained replication of RNAs, we have variation, but nothing new, only faster replication. And when AVIDA is given real world parameters it does basically nothing.

    And I used to accept universal common descent, that is until I looked at the evidence and saw there wasn’t any that explained the transformations required.

    Well, if it so sure I’m surprised a vast majority of working cellular biologist haven’t changed their mind like you have.

    No way to test to see if a fish can ever evolve into something other than a fish. Never mind doing so via natural selection and/ or genetic drift.

    Sure there is . . . have you got a million years to wait? Maybe two. Damn random mutations, they never do what you want them to when you want them to.

    It just so happens that our moon is 400x closer to us than the sun. and it just so happens that the moon is 400x smaller. The two together give us total eclipses.

    Take that together with the fact the moon is moving away from us. Is it just a coincidence then that the two are lined up like that, to give us really good and useful scientific information about the universe, just when there are observers around to make sense of it?

    I’d say so, yes. A coincidence that is going to last for quite a while.

    Coincidence requires no extra beings or causes or forces. We’ve got no evidence for extra beings or forces or causes so I’ll go with coincidence.

    We wouldn’t exist without a large moon. and we wouldn’t be able to amke important scientific discoveries without it being just-so.

    We might not exist but some kind of life might.

    If the universe was designed for us then why is it trying to kill us? Why is it seemingly mostly empty space? Why is our sun going to turn into a red giant and fry all forms of life on earth in the future? Why is it a distinct possibility that a large meteor could smack into the earth and kill off millions if not billions of people? Heck, just one gamma ray burst pointed right at us could do a big nasty. Plus you got earthquakes, floods, tornados, tsunamis, plagues . . . if Polio and Ebola are part of the plan then the designers must be real jerks.

  78. StephenB (72):

    My confidence in the validity of a design argument depends on the effect that is being observed. For example, I find no scientific evidence for any claim that moon craters are designed even though, in principle, they could be. On the other hand, I find much scientific evidence that the universe was finely tuned for life.

    I think the universe is a cold, deadly and indifferent place with sparks of beauty and joy. I am so very, very glad that I was lucky enough to even have been born let alone survive and live in a reasonably advanced country with few natural disasters that could take me out in a second, few major diseases wiping out chunks of the population and, so far, no rocks falling out of the sky of sufficient size to kill us all.

    But to get to your question, yes, I am willing to consider the possibility that a given design inference could be wrong. But, as indicated above, each instance must be considered on its own merits. Let’s consider the bacterial flagellum:

    ID scientists tell me that it was likely designed because it is irreducibly complex (all parts must be present before it will work), which means that it could not have been the result of a slow, gradual, evolutionary process.

    On the other hand, Darwinists tell me that it was, indeed, the product of an unguided, materialistic, evolutionary process. I am willing to believe that ID could be wrong and the that the Darwinists could be right, but when I ask Darwinists to show me the evidence for an evolutionary pathway to the bacterial flagellum, or to even render a guess about how such a pathway might even be possible, they have nothing to say.

    Give them a few more years! I think you have made the call WAY too early. It took over 300 years to prove Fermat’s Last Theorem. Things take time.

    Remember too, part of the evolutionary argument for why the bacterial flagellum is NOT irreducibly complex is co-option. And that there are systems that perform functions which are comprised of pieces of the bacterial flagellum that can be observed in existence now.

    When one side (ID) says “here is what I think and here is the evidence,” and the other side (Darwinism) says, “shut up and just take my word for it,” I have no difficulty in choosing the former over the latter as the most reasonable option.

    I don’t find that Darwinism says that at all!! You can go look stuff up, do the reading, do your own research. Biologists get frustrated by having to go over the same arguments over and over again when any interested person can go find out for themselves. I find my arguments frequently misrepresented or unheard here and this is just a small forum.

    Every biologist I have ever met really enjoys explaining their work to someone who is really interested in hearing and absorbing what they are saying. They love their work. I’ve never, ever been told to just shut up and believe. Ever. And I’ve asked some pretty dumb questions in my time.

    Besides, are you sure you want to pick an explanation based on who’s doing the explaining?

  79. Eric (73):

    Good. Now we are getting somewhere.

    So you agree that it is possible in principle to infer the existence of a designer from an artifact, even if we don’t have any other information about the designer beyond what we can ascertain from the artifact itself.

    Correct?

    I’ve said inasmuch before. I have also said that in all cases I can think of we’re talking about inanimate objects and that we can infer or glean information about the ‘designers’ and their abilities and timing from the designed object and the context in which it was found.

    (74):

    BTW, Jerad, I know you were asking StephenB so I apologize for jumping in, but for whatever it is worth just to offer a second perspective, I don’t have any philosophical issue with the idea of evolution generally. My issue with evolution (that is, big evolution, grand evolution, OOL, blind-watchmaker kind of evolution) is that it is a joke. It is a joke logically, empirically, and experientially.

    Well, is it worth responding to you then? :-)

    I would be very interested in any evidence that blind natural processes can produce a highly-scalable, massively-parallel system architecture incorporating a super-dense, information-rich, multi-level, multi-directional database structure based on a digital coding system with storage, retrieval and translation mechanisms, utilizing concatenation, file allocation and bit parity algorithms. I would welcome such evidence and would view it as a legitimate contending answer for the origin of life and would also view it as having eliminated the need for a design explanation.

    That’s a lovely list of adjectives and qualifiers. Well done.

    I think the evidence of universal common descent with modification from the first basic replicator via undirected processes is very clear and strong. I happen to believe that it’s probable that the first basic replicator arose via undirected processes as well but I admit the evidence for that is not there yet.

    I reject the design hypothesis because there is no need for invoking design and there is no evidence for a designer as far as I can tell. I don’t believe the design inference for DNA has been proven so I do not take that as evidence.

    But I prefer to go on the best of what we do know, not place my hopes on some promissory note of some as-yet-undiscovered law or future discovery that will overturn much of what we currently understand about cause and effect and our experience with physics and chemistry.

    Yet you are fine accepting an undefined, unobserved, unmeasured, unknown designer. Not that I think we need a new discovery or law to justify evolutionary processes, what we got is good enough. That’s part of the point. No special pleading, no new forces or causes.

    So I would be very interested in such evidence, but I am not holding my breath.

    Good idea, you don’t want to turn blue and fall over.

  80. Jerad

    Well, if I’m not going to enter into a discussion of how the first basic replicator arose then I guess I can’t discuss how the genetic code arose.

    Originally, you argued that we cannot draw an inference to design for a DNA molecule on the grounds that artifacts are different from organisms. When I point out that we are comparing indicators that both elements have in common, you change the subject rather than acknowledge the refutation. This is very common with Darwinists.

    I will just say though: there could have been more than one genetic code just like there is more than one human language and ‘alphabet’. When we see all of life, with some minor exceptions, it’s natural to assume that there was single first replicator. Of, if there were others with different genetic codes, they died out before we learned to read the code. A designed system would not have to follow that rule. A designed system, like human languages, could have multiple different codes. But ours doesn’t.

    This is an irrational statement. We are discussing the code that we now know exists and are pointing out its design features.

    Are you really sure that chance chemical bonding over millions of years couldn’t have led to something like a simple virus which then reproduced with modification?

    Much of my confidence is based on the spectacle of Darwinists like yourself who, when confronted with a challenge to provide evidence for their claims, respond as you just did by asking me if I am really sure that they are wrong. Well, yes, I am reasonably certain that you are wrong–given the fact that you refuse to provide any evidence for your position– given that fact that you avoid confronting the evidence for the counter arguments, as you have repeatedly done on this thread.

    Give them a few more years! I think you have made the call WAY too early. It took over 300 years to prove Fermat’s Last Theorem. Things take time.

    Well, at least we both agree that there is no evidence to justify the proposition that unguided, materialistic evolution can produce biodiversity. I give you credit for facing the truth of that matter even though you did not explicitly acknowledge it. Just for fun, though here is a thought: Don’t you think it would be a bit more prudent if Darwinists would wait until they can support their claims before they assert them as fact when, as it turns out, their offerings are nothing more than manifestly failed attempts at a guess.
    .

    Every biologist I have ever met really enjoys explaining their work to someone who is really interested in hearing and absorbing what they are saying. They love their work. I’ve never, ever been told to just shut up and believe. Ever. And I’ve asked some pretty dumb questions in my time.

    That’s really very funny. Darwinists do no ask their lapdogs to shut up. They ask their adversaries to shut up—that is, when they are not destroying careers or sullying reputations in the name of institutional orthodoxy.

  81. Jerad:

    Except that cars don’t replicate on their own.

    Your position cannot explain replication. Therefor you cannot use living organisms for anything to support your position.

    Well, if it so sure I’m surprised a vast majority of working cellular biologist haven’t changed their mind like you have.

    It is very telling that not one of thsoe working cellular biologists can support the claims of their position.


    No way to test to see if a fish can ever evolve into something other than a fish. Never mind doing so via natural selection and/ or genetic drift.

    Sure there is . . . have you got a million years to wait? Maybe two. Damn random mutations, they never do what you want them to when you want them to.

    Thank you for proving my point.

    I’d say so, yes. A coincidence that is going to last for quite a while.

    Coincidence requires no extra beings or causes or forces. We’ve got no evidence for extra beings or forces or causes so I’ll go with coincidence.

    That is not scientific- no way to test the claim.


    We wouldn’t exist without a large moon. and we wouldn’t be able to amke important scientific discoveries without it being just-so.

    We might not exist but some kind of life might.

    Nope- no life would exist here.

    If the universe was designed for us then why is it trying to kill us?

    Is it? Rference please- sure the universe is a dangerous place but that just means more to discover so we can keep oursekves safe.

    And the designer will never be as big of a jerk as evos are…

  82. Jerad @79:

    That’s a lovely list of adjectives and qualifiers. Well done.

    Your sarcasm is noted, thank you. But it isn’t just a list of adjectives and qualifiers. It is a (somewhat abbreviated) description of what has to be explained. One of the main rhetorical ploys of Darwinists is not getting into the details. Just talk broadly at some high level about variations and replication and survival and *poof!* new stuff emerges (just don’t ask us any details, please). As an innoculation against this intellectual laziness I sometimes like to get into the details of what is actually required. It helps focus the discussion and call the bluff of the molecules-to-man materialist creation myth.

    I think the evidence of universal common descent with modification from the first basic replicator via undirected processes is very clear and strong. I happen to believe that it’s probable that the first basic replicator arose via undirected processes as well but I admit the evidence for that is not there yet.

    Well, then you have a very low standard for what evidence you think is clear and strong. Whatever may be the case for universal common descent, so far I have seen zero evidence that it all happened via undirected processes. I’d be curious to see this clear and strong evidence, but remember we aren’t talking just about common descent, we are talking about undirected. So show us those natural causes you are so fond of and we’ll take a look.

    As for OOL, I presume you are referring to those as-yet-undiscovered natural processes that you don’t have any idea what they could be but you hope will be found? You know, those processes that haven’t been found after intensive research and decades of effort. Those processes that supposedly operated at one point in the deep past, but which we don’t see operating any more for some strange reason. Sorry, I guess it was my turn now for sarcasm, but whether OOL can come from undirected natural processes is one of the most definitive “No’s” that has ever come from science.

    I reject the design hypothesis because there is no need for invoking design and there is no evidence for a designer as far as I can tell. I don’t believe the design inference for DNA has been proven so I do not take that as evidence.

    Well, that is fair enough as far as it goes. If you are open to the possibility of design in life, that is the important thing. If you don’t think what I have described (back to the adjectives above) is something that requires design, then we could talk about what kinds of characteristics or artifacts enable the design inference and see if biological systems fall in that category.

    On the other hand, if you are rejecting design because you (mistakenly) believe natural causes have been shown to be up to the task; or worse, if you are rejecting design because of a philosophical commitment to keeping design out of biology, then those would be personal issues that need to be addressed.

  83. Regarding replication:

    I should add that several of the above posts go back and forth on the red herring that because biological systems can replicate that this somehow makes the design inference inapplicable. This is complete nonsense. (Jerad isn’t the only one to use this red herring, as it is sometimes brought up by anti-design critics, so perhaps he is just repeating a talking point.) Here is the logic: (cough, cough):

    The existence of a functionally integrated information-rich complex machine allows us to draw a design inference. But if the machine can replicate itself (i.e., by all engineering and design estimates meaning that it incorporates an even greater level of engineering sophistication), then somehow, magically, the design inference is no longer applicable.

    Wow, just wow.

  84. EA:

    believe it or not, your point antdates Darwin, who dodged it, and I cannot but help noticing that contempuous dismissals of Paley’s stumbling over a watch in a field on the disanalogy of self replication consistently do not speak to this fr Ch II of Nat Theol, which sits in the IOSE of course:

    Suppose, in the next place, that the person who found the watch should after some time discover that, in addition to all the properties which he had hitherto observed in it, it possessed the unexpected property of producing in the course of its movement another watch like itself — the thing is conceivable; that it contained within it a mechanism, a system of parts — a mold, for instance, or a complex adjustment of lathes, baffles, and other tools — evidently and separately calculated for this purpose . . . .

    The first effect would be to increase his admiration of the contrivance, and his conviction of the consummate skill of the contriver. Whether he regarded the object of the contrivance, the distinct apparatus, the intricate, yet in many parts intelligible mechanism by which it was carried on, he would perceive in this new observation nothing but an additional reason for doing what he had already done — for referring the construction of the watch to design and to supreme art . . . . He would reflect, that though the watch before him were, in some sense, the maker of the watch, which, was fabricated in the course of its movements, yet it was in a very different sense from that in which a carpenter, for instance, is the maker of a chair — the author of its contrivance, the cause of the relation of its parts to their use.

    Muy interesante. (That’s as close to Italian as I get.)

    KF

  85. StephenB (80):

    Originally, you argued that we cannot draw an inference to design for a DNA molecule on the grounds that artifacts are different from organisms. When I point out that we are comparing indicators that both elements have in common, you change the subject rather than acknowledge the refutation. This is very common with Darwinists.

    I will just say though: there could have been more than one genetic code just like there is more than one human language and ‘alphabet’. When we see all of life, with some minor exceptions, it’s natural to assume that there was single first replicator. Of, if there were others with different genetic codes, they died out before we learned to read the code. A designed system would not have to follow that rule. A designed system, like human languages, could have multiple different codes. But ours doesn’t.

    This is an irrational statement. We are discussing the code that we now know exists and are pointing out its design features.

    Ah yes, I admit to making a bit of a non-sequitar. I was worried that if I passed the comment by I would be accused of being non-responsive. So I made sure I put something in. My bad. Sorry.

    Much of my confidence is based on the spectacle of Darwinists like yourself who, when confronted with a challenge to provide evidence for their claims, respond as you just did by asking me if I am really sure that they are wrong. Well, yes, I am reasonably certain that you are wrong–given the fact that you refuse to provide any evidence for your position– given that fact that you avoid confronting the evidence for the counter arguments, as you have repeatedly done on this thread.

    That has not been my only response it should be noted. And I have provided evidence (albeit non-accepted) in the fossil, genetic, geographic, morphological and breeding records. Just like you I consider your counter arguments insufficient. Where do we go from here then?

    Well, at least we both agree that there is no evidence to justify the proposition that unguided, materialistic evolution can produce biodiversity. I give you credit for facing the truth of that matter even though you did not explicitly acknowledge it. Just for fun, though here is a thought: Don’t you think it would be a bit more prudent if Darwinists would wait until they can support their claims before they assert them as fact when, as it turns out, their offerings are nothing more than manifestly failed attempts at a guess.

    Ah well I would categorise the Darwinian position as being the best model based on the current evidence. I think all science is provisional, open to change. All we can hope to do is to find a better explanation.

    And no, just to be clear, I am NOT agreeing that there is no evidence to support the proposition that unguided and natural processes are responsible for the biodiversity we observe today. I think it’s prudent to look for more evidence though.

    That’s really very funny. Darwinists do no ask their lapdogs to shut up. They ask their adversaries to shut up—that is, when they are not destroying careers or sullying reputations in the name of institutional orthodoxy.

    And you know this from personal experience? Or is it just something you want to believe is true?

    I try very hard to be cordial and polite but sometimes the implied slurs and castigations are a bit hard to leave lying.

    If you’ve got a case then bring it forward in the open.

  86. Joe (81):

    Your position cannot explain replication. Therefor you cannot use living organisms for anything to support your position.

    Evolutionary theory starts from the advent of the first basic replicator. What are you asking? To explain how replication works? Isn’t that also a question for the D camp. If it means explaining the chemistry of replicator. But I don’t want to put words in your mouth.

    Sure there is . . . have you got a million years to wait? Maybe two. Damn random mutations, they never do what you want them to when you want them to.

    Thank you for proving my point.

    So you agree that Darwinian processes take millions of years? Whew?

    I know that’s not what you meant but it would be easier to have a dialogue if you were a bit more specific regarding your criticisms. A bit less bitch and run and a bit more explanation.

    <blockquote<We wouldn’t exist without a large moon. and we wouldn’t be able to amke important scientific discoveries without it being just-so.

    We might not exist but some kind of life might.

    Nope- no life would exist here.

    That is a really astounding and bizarre assertion. Not only am I going to give you a chance to provide some justification for that point of view but I’ll let you retract it without further attention from me.

    If the universe was designed for us then why is it trying to kill us?

    Is it? Rference please- sure the universe is a dangerous place but that just means more to discover so we can keep oursekves safe.

    And the designer will never be as big of a jerk as evos are…

    You have a very odd theology. Why don’t you elucidate your hypothesis about the kind of designers you envision so we don’t have to guess. That would help matters I think. Fair enough?

  87. Eric (82):

    Your sarcasm is noted, thank you. But it isn’t just a list of adjectives and qualifiers. It is a (somewhat abbreviated) description of what has to be explained. One of the main rhetorical ploys of Darwinists is not getting into the details. Just talk broadly at some high level about variations and replication and survival and *poof!* new stuff emerges (just don’t ask us any details, please). As an innoculation against this intellectual laziness I sometimes like to get into the details of what is actually required. It helps focus the discussion and call the bluff of the molecules-to-man materialist creation myth.

    I wasn’t being sarcastic, I thought it was a good list.

    A serious question: do you think ID proponents better address the details, the hows and whens? Aside from just saying the designer did it obviously. I’m serious, can you offer a better, detailed explanation?

    Well, then you have a very low standard for what evidence you think is clear and strong. Whatever may be the case for universal common descent, so far I have seen zero evidence that it all happened via undirected processes. I’d be curious to see this clear and strong evidence, but remember we aren’t talking just about common descent, we are talking about undirected. So show us those natural causes you are so fond of and we’ll take a look.

    The same natural processes you experience in your daily life. For example:

    Very cold climates/environments will tend to ‘favour’ life forms with a better ability to survive in that environment. So those ‘favoured’ life forms will tend to reproduce more. And thereby shift the allele frequency in the overall population gene pool.

    As for OOL, I presume you are referring to those as-yet-undiscovered natural processes that you don’t have any idea what they could be but you hope will be found? You know, those processes that haven’t been found after intensive research and decades of effort. Those processes that supposedly operated at one point in the deep past, but which we don’t see operating any more for some strange reason. Sorry, I guess it was my turn now for sarcasm, but whether OOL can come from undirected natural processes is one of the most definitive “No’s” that has ever come from science.

    Yes, those are them!!

    I admit, I wish it had all been settled by now. But i’m not ready to throw in the towel yet. It hasn’t been that long since scientists have really known what kind of thing to look for and test. Why are you giving up on the undirected explanation already? Is there a time limit on figuring things out?

    (83):

    I should add that several of the above posts go back and forth on the red herring that because biological systems can replicate that this somehow makes the design inference inapplicable. This is complete nonsense. (Jerad isn’t the only one to use this red herring, as it is sometimes brought up by anti-design critics, so perhaps he is just repeating a talking point.) Here is the logic: (cough, cough):

    I didn’t say it was inapplicable. I said I didn’t think it had been proven.

    I can see what your’re arguing. But I do not think that living systems which can independently descend with modification can be judged with the same criteria as inanimate objects.

    The existence of a functionally integrated information-rich complex machine allows us to draw a design inference. But if the machine can replicate itself (i.e., by all engineering and design estimates meaning that it incorporates an even greater level of engineering sophistication), then somehow, magically, the design inference is no longer applicable.

    Wow, just wow.

    It has to do with descent with modification. Inanimate objects cannot self replicate with modification. Living forms can. And the ‘offspring’ will have differential survival and breeding capacity. So future offspring will have more information which will enable them to better exploit their environment.

  88. Jerad

    Ah yes, I admit to making a bit of a non-sequitar. I was worried that if I passed the comment by I would be accused of being non-responsive. So I made sure I put something in. My bad. Sorry.

    Well, sometimes I do press a little hard, I suppose. In any case, let’s consider what is really happening here. It appears that you do not appreciate the significance of our earlier discussion. I asked you if material forces such as wind, air, and erosion, acting aimlessly, could form the ancient hunter’s spear. You agreed that such a scenario is, for all practical purposes, impossible, given the design indicators in the spear.

    So we have a problem:

    If, as you say, mindless nature cannot produce a spear, what makes you think that it can achieve the much more complex task of producing, life, the process of reproduction, or the process of replication.

    If, as you say, mindless nature cannot achieve the task of rearranging one form of non-life into another form of non-life (spear), what makes you think it can achieve the much more daunting task of rearranging and elevating non-life into life (DNA molecule)?

    Most important, when you say that an organism’s design patters are not as significant as an artifact’s design patterns on the grounds that an organism is different from an artifact, you are indeed, engaging in a non-sequitor. Realizing that problem, an appropriate response would go something like this: “Now that I understand that artifacts and organisms have something in common, namely information, I recognize that the information in a DNA molecule is as much or more of an indicator of design as the information in a designed ancient hunter’s spear or, for that matter, the information in a designed written paragraph. Therefore, I will accept the former as real evidence for design and against random formation just as I accepted the latter as real evidence for design and against random formation. Accordingly, I will stop saying that ID has no evidence on the grounds that organisms are different than artifacts.”

    That has not been my only response it should be noted. And I have provided evidence (albeit non-accepted) in the fossil, genetic, geographic, morphological and breeding records. Just like you I consider your counter arguments insufficient. Where do we go from here then?

    You have provided a kind of argument for total morphological change or total evolutionary change, and, to be sure, there is some evidence for that position, though it is not nearly conclusive enough to convince me. But that is not what is at issue. Darwinism (Darwin’s General Theory) goes much farther than that: That model insists not only that evolution is true and total, but also that unguided, naturalistic forces are capable of driving it from beginning to end. It is that claim for which there is no evidence. I thought that you understood that.

    Ah well I would categorise the Darwinian position as being the best model based on the current evidence. I think all science is provisional, open to change. All we can hope to do is to find a better explanation.

    Yes, I know that you think that Darwinism (Darwin’s General Theory) is the best model, but, as I have pointed out many times, there is no evidence at all to support that model. According to all the evidence that we have, random variation, natural selection, or genetic drift can produce only minor changes in a species (Darwin’s Special Theory), which means, again according to the evidence, that if macro evolution occurred, there must be some other explanation, such as guided, purposeful, or programmed evolution (compatible with Intelligent Design).

    And no, just to be clear, I am NOT agreeing that there is no evidence to support the proposition that unguided and natural processes are responsible for the biodiversity we observe today. I think it’s prudent to look for more evidence though.

    OK, I appreciate that clarification. This would mean, then, that you do not understand the debate. So far, you have only offered reasons to believe that macro-evolution happened, but you (nor anyone else in your camp) has ever provided any evidence to support the proposition that unguided, naturalistic forces can drive it. ID does not argue against evolution, it argues against unguided evolution. Or, from another perspective, ID does not argue against Darwin’s Special theory, it argues against Darwin’s General Theory.

    [That’s really very funny. Darwinists do no ask their lapdogs to shut up. They ask their adversaries to shut up—that is, when they are not destroying careers or sullying reputations in the name of institutional orthodoxy].

    And you know this from personal experience? Or is it just something you want to believe is true?

    I know it to be a fact and so does everyone else who follows the history of the conflict. Have you never heard of Richard Sternberg or Guillermo Gonzalez? Have you never heard of the movie, “Expelled, No Intelligence Allowed?” It is an institutional problem that represents widespread corruption, both in the Darwinist cam and in the Theistic Evolution camp.

    I try very hard to be cordial and polite but sometimes the implied slurs and castigations are a bit hard to leave lying.

    I can understand and respect that feeling. As a general rule, I reserve my slurs for Darwinists in the academy–those who persecute ID scientists, bully students and withhold information from them, and misrepresent both their position and that of their adversaries.

    If you’ve got a case then bring it forward in the open.

    The case for ID has already been brought forward. The evidence for design is inherent in the design patterns, such as complex specified information and irreducible complexity in biology and cosmological fine tuning in cosmology.

    The case against Darwinism has also been brought forward. There is no evidence to support the proposition that unguided, naturalistic forces can produce total evolutionary change.

  89. Jerad:

    Evolutionary theory starts from the advent of the first basic replicator.

    No, it starts with living organisms. And guess what? So does baraminology.

    So tell me, what is the difference between starting with one or more populations of single-celled organisms vs starting with one or more populations of Created Kinds oe designed archetypes?

    So you agree that Darwinian processes take millions of years?

    No. Natural selection is present on a daily basis.

    No moon no life-

    1- our rotation. probably wouldn’t happen without that large impact that created the moon

    2- rotation without a moon and you get a wobble so large you wouldn’t have a stable environment for life to form and take hold

    Either way, no life.

  90. 90

    #88

    :)

  91. StephenB (88):

    If, as you say, mindless nature cannot produce a spear, what makes you think that it can achieve the much more complex task of producing, life, the process of reproduction, or the process of replication.

    It’s a bit more complicated than that though. Given the first basic replicator then the rest comes down to universal common descent with modification and cumulative selection.

    I think there will eventually be a plausible way discovered of how the first basic replicator arose through purely natural forces but that does remain to be seen.

    AND, I think it’s far too soon to throw in the towel and hypothesise an undefined cause which has no independent evidence supporting the notion. Independent in that if you and I disagree about whether something was designed or not then we can bolster our opinions with evidence outside of the object in question.

    Most important, when you say that an organism’s design patters are not as significant as an artifact’s design patterns on the grounds that an organism is different from an artifact, you are indeed, engaging in a non-sequitor. Realizing that problem, an appropriate response would go something like this: “Now that I understand that artifacts and organisms have something in common, namely information, I recognize that the information in a DNA molecule is as much or more of an indicator of design as the information in a designed ancient hunter’s spear or, for that matter, the information in a designed written paragraph. Therefore, I will accept the former as real evidence for design and against random formation just as I accepted the latter as real evidence for design and against random formation. Accordingly, I will stop saying that ID has no evidence on the grounds that organisms are different than artifacts.”

    I could say that, but I won’t. I think the information argument is weak which is why (I suspect) that Dr Dembski has ceased to discuss the matter much. I do not see people actually using his metric in practice which leads me to believe it’s not useable. If I were a design proponent and I had a measure which could be applied to detect design I’d be using it all the time to show the world how good it was. But nobody actually does that.

    So I think I’ll stick to what I’ve already said.

    You have provided a kind of argument for total morphological change or total evolutionary change, and, to be sure, there is some evidence for that position, though it is not nearly conclusive enough to convince me. But that is not what is at issue. Darwinism (Darwin’s General Theory) goes much farther than that: That model insists not only that evolution is true and total, but also that unguided, naturalistic forces are capable of driving it from beginning to end. It is that claim for which there is no evidence. I thought that you understood that.

    From the first basic replicator on is my understanding. I know he hypothesised about how that first basic replicator came about but, let’s be honest, that was just a guess.

    OK, I appreciate that clarification. This would mean, then, that you do not understand the debate. So far, you have only offered reasons to believe that macro-evolution happened, but you (nor anyone else in your camp) has ever provided any evidence to support the proposition that unguided, naturalistic forces can drive it. ID does not argue against evolution, it argues against unguided evolution. Or, from another perspective, ID does not argue against Darwin’s Special theory, it argues against Darwin’s General Theory.

    I think you’ll have to be more specific about what version of ID you are talking about. It’s pretty clear that many of the contributors to this forum have different notions of when, where and how design was implemented so could you be more specific about your views on those matters. Otherwise I’m going to find it hard to grasp your full argument. What kind of guiding are you talking about?

    I know it to be a fact and so does everyone else who follows the history of the conflict. Have you never heard of Richard Sternberg or Guillermo Gonzalez? Have you never heard of the movie, “Expelled, No Intelligence Allowed?” It is an institutional problem that represents widespread corruption, both in the Darwinist cam and in the Theistic Evolution camp.

    Dr Sternberg didn’t lose his ‘job’ at the Smithsonian or his access. The journal he worked for decided he violated their peer review process and let him go but I doubt he was making much money from that. Dr Gonzales has a good teaching job now as far as I remember so the fact that one particular university decided he didn’t fit in hasn’t put him out on the streets exactly. I failed to get tenure once. I got it at the next job though. It happens.

    I’ve heard a lot about Expelled and how, at one point, it equated science with Nazi death camps. That was pretty shameful considering that many Jewish scientists lost their lives or family members in those death camps. Interesting that the movie didn’t do very well and has pretty much dropped off of everyone’s radar at this point. Not exactly considered a classic documentary.

    The case for ID has already been brought forward. The evidence for design is inherent in the design patterns, such as complex specified information and irreducible complexity in biology and cosmological fine tuning in cosmology.

    I would find it very helpful if you could just be a bit more specific about when, where and how you perceive design to have been implemented so I can better address the implications of what you are asserting.

  92. Joe (89):

    Evolutionary theory starts from the advent of the first basic replicator.

    No, it starts with living organisms. And guess what? So does baraminology.

    I’ll start with the first basic replicator I think. What does baraminology have to do with anything?

    So tell me, what is the difference between starting with one or more populations of single-celled organisms vs starting with one or more populations of Created Kinds oe designed archetypes?

    I’ve said before that there are many possible sources of the first basic replicator (probably a population of them as you say). I can’t rule out that it was designed and dropped onto earth at some point but considering there is absolutely no evidence other than life itself (which is the thing under discussion) for some designers I think it’s better to pursue the non-designed approach for the time being. Why hypothesise a cause you might not need?

    So you agree that Darwinian processes take millions of years?

    No. Natural selection is present on a daily basis.

    Great!

    No moon no life-

    1- our rotation. probably wouldn’t happen without that large impact that created the moon

    2- rotation without a moon and you get a wobble so large you wouldn’t have a stable environment for life to form and take hold

    Either way, no life.

    Maybe no life of certain kinds. I gather you are accepting the dating techniques used when coming up with the impact theory then?

    Are you sure about the wobble without a moon? Does Mars wobble in it’s rotation? Earth does have a wobble but it lasts thousands of years.

    I would agree that without the moon life on Earth might be very different but none at all? I don’t see how you can possibly support that view.

  93. If, as you say, mindless nature cannot produce a spear, what makes you think that it can achieve the much more complex task of producing life, the process of reproduction, or the process of replication?

    Jerad

    It’s a bit more complicated than that though. Given the first basic replicator then the rest comes down to universal common descent with modification and cumulative selection.

    I asked you a simple question, but you evaded it. I will, however, give you another chance to respond.

    I think you’ll have to be more specific about what version of ID you are talking about. It’s pretty clear that many of the contributors to this forum have different notions of when, where and how design was implemented so could you be more specific about your views on those matters. Otherwise I’m going to find it hard to grasp your full argument. What kind of guiding are you talking about?

    All ID proponents accept guided evolution and reject unguided evolution. Design detection, which is the purpose of the ID paradigms, is independent of questions about when the design was implemented, which is beyond the range of ID methodology. That you would ask such a question suggests that you do not understand the basic principles of design detection.
    Either way, if you don’t know the difference between guided evolution and unguided evolution, or if you don’t understand why the difference is important, then I don’t think you are ready for dialogue. Or, if you do know the difference and are feigning ignorance, that too, is a problem since it constitutes yet another evasion.

    Dr Sternberg didn’t lose his ‘job’ at the Smithsonian or his access. The journal he worked for decided he violated their peer review process and let him go but I doubt he was making much money from that. Dr Gonzales has a good teaching job now as far as I remember so the fact that one particular university decided he didn’t fit in hasn’t put him out on the streets exactly. I failed to get tenure once. I got it at the next job though. It happens.

    As I pointed out, I and many others have followed this conflict for years and the Darwinian persecution of ID scholars is an institutional phenomenon. It is not simply my opinion, it is a fact. If you choose not to accept the truth of the matter, I have no intention of providing numerous other examples for you to dismiss. I was simply pointing out that I don’t respect people who act that way, and I would also have a problem with anyone who would try to rationalize that kind of behavior.

  94. StephenB (93):

    If, as you say, mindless nature cannot produce a spear, what makes you think that it can achieve the much more complex task of producing life, the process of reproduction, or the process of replication?

    It’s a bit more complicated than that though. Given the first basic replicator then the rest comes down to universal common descent with modification and cumulative selection.

    I asked you a simple question, but you evaded it. I will, however, give you another chance to respond.

    I’m not sure what you want me to say . . . I think the process of cumulative selection acting on descent with variation can create great morphological changes. I’ve already said I’m not capable of explaining how the first basic replicator arose but that, having no evidence for ‘designers’ and there not having been much time trying to figure out how it happened via unguided processes that I think we need to give the unguided hypothesis more time.

    All ID proponents accept guided evolution and reject unguided evolution. Design detection, which is the purpose of the ID paradigms, is independent of questions about when the design was implemented, which is beyond the range of ID methodology. That you would ask such a question suggests that you do not understand the basic principles of design detection.
    Either way, if you don’t know the difference between guided evolution and unguided evolution, or if you don’t understand why the difference is important, then I don’t think you are ready for dialogue. Or, if you do know the difference and are feigning ignorance, that too, is a problem since it constitutes yet another evasion.

    I hear various members of the ID community proposing different kinds of guided evolution so I’m wondering what your variety says. Joe seems to believe in some kind of front loading situation. I think KF’s version would have more interventionist designers, ones that occasionally make adjustments. I think. Similar to what I think Dr Behe suspects to be the case. I could be wrong but you see what I mean? Everyone uses design detection, it’s where they go from there that I find hard to pin down. I can sort of understand why design detection limits itself to just that. But surely it’s important to use that to explain how design was/is utilised in biology. Otherwise, what’s the point of detecting the design in the first place?

    I just don’t see how the design inference can support all versions of guided evolution. Surely some can be at least ruled out? Otherwise, what power does the design inference have?

    As I pointed out, I and many others have followed this conflict for years and the Darwinian persecution of ID scholars is an institutional phenomenon. It is not simply my opinion, it is a fact. If you choose not to accept the truth of the matter, I have no intention of providing numerous other examples for you to dismiss. I was simply pointing out that I don’t respect people who act that way, and I would also have a problem with anyone who would try to rationalize that kind of behavior.

    I have only heard of the three or four big, widely discussed cases. I have been listening to The Discovery Institute’s podcast ID: The Future for five or six years now. I also subscribe to their email list and their RSS feed although I do not read every post there by any means. The podcast I do listen to religiously. Years ago I conversed with Casey Luskin via email for a time. I have also tracked down some interviews Drs Meyer and Behe and Dembski have done for other podcasts, Unbelievable (from Christian Premier radio in the UK for one). And I’ve been reading Uncommon Descent off and on for a number of years. I’m not saying that gives me great knowledge or insite in the persecution issue but I have knowledge of much of what has appeared in those venues.

  95. Jerad

    I would find it very helpful if you could just be a bit more specific about when, where and how you perceive design to have been implemented so I can better address the implications of what you are asserting.

    Inasmuch as I nor any other ID proponent has ever claimed to be able to detect the date of the design implementation, I can’t imagine why you would ask us to defend a claim that we have not made.

    On the other hand, you claim that Darwin’s anti-ID, General Theory of Evolution is the best model, yet neither you or anyone in your camp can provide any evidence to support it. At best, you can produce some evidence for Darwin’s Special Theory, which no one in the ID community disputes. Are you now prepared to concede that fact?

    If you are intellectually honest, you will confront and acknowledge both of these indisputable facts.

  96. StephenB (95):

    Inasmuch as I nor any other ID proponent has ever claimed to be able to detect the date of the design implementation, I can’t imagine why you would ask us to defend a claim that we have not made.

    I never thought or assumed you could detect the date of design nor that you had made that claim. I would just find it easier to consider you point of view if I know what you think happened. Otherwise it’s just down to arguing whether or not something was designed. And even that question must tie in with how often design is implemented.

    For instance, in a scenario where designers intercede often there will be life forms that appear immediately after a new design has come about and those that are further down the timeline. I would expect to see some degradation in the genomes and morphologies of the life forms further removed from new designs as mutations and copying errors take their toll.

    On the other hand, you claim that Darwin’s anti-ID, General Theory of Evolution is the best model, yet neither you or anyone in your camp can provide any evidence to support it. At best, you can produce some evidence for Darwin’s Special Theory, which no one in the ID community disputes. Are you now prepared to concede that fact?

    I think there is lots and lots of evidence to support universal common descent with modification from an initial basic replicator via only unguided processes. I think fossils, genomes, morphogies, geographic distributions and breeding records all combine together and form a very powerful case.

    You ask me to concede something just because you see things differently. All I can do is state my views and why I think the evidence supports them. I’m not asking you to concede or change your mind and I can’t understand why you’re asking me to do that.

  97. Jerad

    I hear various members of the ID community proposing different kinds of guided evolution so I’m wondering what your variety says. Joe seems to believe in some kind of front loading situation. I think KF’s version would have more interventionist designers, ones that occasionally make adjustments. I think. Similar to what I think Dr Behe suspects to be the case. I could be wrong but you see what I mean? Everyone uses design detection, it’s where they go from there that I find hard to pin down. I can sort of understand why design detection limits itself to just that. But surely it’s important to use that to explain how design was/is utilised in biology. Otherwise, what’s the point of detecting the design in the first place?

    Yes, there is much diversity of opinion among members of the ID community on the question of what kind of guided evolution is in play, or even if macro-evolution occurred at all. On the other hand, there is no diversity of opinion about the point that, if evolution occurred, it would have to have been guided. Unguided evolution cannot be reconciled with Intelligent Design.

    I just don’t see how the design inference can support all versions of guided evolution. Surely some can be at least ruled out?

    I think each individual scientist accepts one account and rules out all the rest, believing that the clear evidence for design is consistent with his less-than-certain account of how, when, and where it was implemented. It is precisely that kind disagreement that we want. The one thing we should not do, like the Darwinists, is to say that we know what happened when, in fact, we do not. We should only make claims about what we do know: certain features in biology give evidence of having been designed. Since ID’s methodology cannot probe the dates and times of the design event, the question is open.

    Otherwise, what power does the design inference have?

    ID provides direction for further research, improves our knowledge of the world, and refutes the extravagant, unsupported claims of Darwinism.

    I have only heard of the three or four big, widely discussed cases. I have been listening to The Discovery Institute’s podcast ID: The Future for five or six years now. I also subscribe to their email list and their RSS feed although I do not read every post there by any means. The podcast I do listen to religiously. Years ago I conversed with Casey Luskin via email for a time. I have also tracked down some interviews Drs Meyer and Behe and Dembski have done for other podcasts, Unbelievable (from Christian Premier radio in the UK for one). And I’ve been reading Uncommon Descent off and on for a number of years. I’m not saying that gives me great knowledge or insite in the persecution issue but I have knowledge of much of what has appeared in those venues.

    I don’t understand. What does your listening and reading regimen have to do with the persecution of the ID scientists, or for that matter, ID students who pay a price for disclosing their opinions to Darwinist professors? What did Casey Luskin or any of the others say or do to persuade you that ID proponents are not being persecuted? All of the men that you mentioned recognize the problem and have said so publicly. Many who write at this site have had that experience. Professor Carolyn Crocker is one of our authors, and her experiences are well documented. I have personally watched video clips of PZ Myers abusing a young student for daring to ask the wrong question.

    The people who do these things do not hesitate to say that the victims of their abuse deserve what they get for believing what they believe and knowing what they know. This problem is widespread. So much so, that Wikipedia, the supremely popular resource for billions of internet surfers, has volunteered its services for, and been welcomed into, the ubiquitous, anti-ID network. When this bunch isn’t busy lying about ID luminaries, they use their spare time to delete comments from those who would try to set the record straight. What is the point of trying to deny these facts? What is the point of saying that you have never had a similar experience with the Darwinists when, in fact, you are one of them? Why would they give a hard time to one of their own?

  98. Jerad

    I think there is lots and lots of evidence to support universal common descent with modification from an initial basic replicator via only unguided processes.

    Well, then, please step up and be the first Darwinist to provide that evidence.

    I think fossils, genomes, morphogies, geographic distributions and breeding records all combine together and form a very powerful case.

    A powerful case for what, common descent? Are you yet so naive as to believe that making the case for common descent is the same thing as making a case for the claim that naturalistic forces alone can drive that process from beginning to end, taking it through all the taxonomic levels?

    You ask me to concede something just because you see things differently. All I can do is state my views and why I think the evidence supports them. I’m not asking you to concede or change your mind and I can’t understand why you’re asking me to do that.

    By now, the challenge should be clear. Either provide evidence that unguided naturalistic forces can drive the macro-evolutionary process or concede the point that you know of no such evidence or of any resource by which such evidence could be obtained.

  99. StephenB (97):

    Yes, there is much diversity of opinion among members of the ID community on the question of what kind of guided evolution is in play, or even if macro-evolution occurred at all. On the other hand, there is no diversity of opinion about the point that, if evolution occurred, it would have to have been guided. Unguided evolution cannot be reconciled with Intelligent Design.

    To me there’s such a huge difference between a one-off front loaded ‘guided’ evolutionary hypothesis and one involving tweaks of individual mutations that I have a hard time seeing them as being even able to be grouped together!! (Aside from the fact that front-loading may not be guided at all, it could be my example of something having fallen out of some alien’s lunch box.)

    I need a bit more definition of what guided evolution could be. Otherwise I don’t really even get what ‘designed’ means. Does it mean once billions of years ago? Does it mean every so often to create new body plans at the genus/class/phylum/order level? Does it mean constant input? What does ‘designed’ really mean??

    The one thing we should not do, like the Darwinists, is to say that we know what happened when, in fact, we do not. We should only make claims about what we do know: certain features in biology give evidence of having been designed. Since ID’s methodology cannot probe the dates and times of the design event, the question is open.

    I appreciate your limiting yourself to what you think you can prove/know. But from the outside, ‘designed’ and ‘guided’ are being used in such nebulous and disparate ways as to be almost meaningless. I have tried to get ID proponents to be more specific about what they mean but I am continually told that ID can’t go there. Which makes me want to ask: well, where can it go then?

    ID provides direction for further research, improves our knowledge of the world, and refutes the extravagant, unsupported claims of Darwinism.

    I fully support and encourage ID proponents to do research! What topics would you consider good candidates for the next stage of exploration for ID?

    I don’t understand. What does your listening and reading regimen have to do with the persecution of the ID scientists, or for that matter, ID students who pay a price for disclosing their opinions to Darwinist professors? What did Casey Luskin or any of the others say or do to persuade you that ID proponents are not being persecuted? All of the men that you mentioned recognize the problem and have said so publicly. Many who write at this site have had that experience. Professor Carolyn Crocker is one of our authors, and her experiences are well documented. I have personally watched video clips of PZ Myers abusing a young student for daring to ask the wrong question.

    I was trying to give you an idea of my exposure to ID topics over the years. I don’t just listen to ID proponents regarding the persecution issue. I try and listen to all sides. When possible. The David Coppedge (spelling?) case is frustrating because it’s hard to find out what’s going on in court and behind the scenes. As I recall there were eye witness accounts of Professor Crocker deriding evolutionary theory to classrooms full of students. She was hired to teach that material not to make fun of it. Dr Meyers can be quite acerbic for sure. What kind of abuse was it? I tell my son he’s being stupid all the time when he is.

    The people who do these things do not hesitate to say that the victims of their abuse deserve what they get for believing what they believe and knowing what they know. This problem is widespread. So much so, that Wikipedia, the supremely popular resource for billions of internet surfers, has volunteered its services for, and been welcomed into, the ubiquitous, anti-ID network. When this bunch isn’t busy lying about ID luminaries, they use their spare time to delete comments from those who would try to set the record straight. What is the point of trying to deny these facts? What is the point of saying that you have never had a similar experience with the Darwinists when, in fact, you are one of them? Why would they give a hard time to one of their own?

    I’m one of them? You don’t even know who I am!! Just because I disagree with you you’re making me part of some conspiracy. I’ve never done any of the things you mention. What would it benefit Wikipedia to pick sides in the matter?

    Perhaps we’d best just stick to discussing the science eh?

    (98):

    I think there is lots and lots of evidence to support universal common descent with modification from an initial basic replicator via only unguided processes.

    Well, then, please step up and be the first Darwinist to provide that evidence.

    I think fossils, genomes, morphogies, geographic distributions and breeding records all combine together and form a very powerful case.

    A powerful case for what, common descent? Are you yet so naive as to believe that making the case for common descent is the same thing as making a case for the claim that naturalistic forces alone can drive that process from beginning to end, taking it through all the taxonomic levels?

    A powerful case for universal common descent with modification from an initial basic replicator via natural cumulative selection and other unguided processes. I don’t think I’m naive at all. But there are other opinions obviously.

    By now, the challenge should be clear. Either provide evidence that unguided naturalistic forces can drive the macro-evolutionary process or concede the point that you know of no such evidence or of any resource by which such evidence could be obtained.

    I think I have pointed to the evidence. So I guess I’m not conceding.

  100. 100

    Materialist ideologues will say literally anything in the defense of their worldview. It’s anti-intellectualism at its finest.

  101. UBP (100):

    Materialist ideologues will say literally anything in the defense of their worldview. It’s anti-intellectualism at its finest.

    Just guessing this comment is directed at me. Let me get this straight: you get to decide was is and what is not evidence. If I disagree with you then I’m at the very least stupid or deluded and at worst an ideologue, part of some anti-ID conspiracy?

    And I’m the one of being accused of being biased?

    Do you think writing me off as some close-minded anti-ID bigot is a good way to build a dialogue? Do I have to agree with you before you’ll extend some Socratic dignity? If you think the ID community is misunderstood and marginalised then why spurn someone who is doing their best to discuss things with no agenda and no influence?

    I’ve come to your forum to discuss things important to you. I’ve tried to conduct myself with grace and respect. I’ve been completely honest about my views and outlook. I’ve done my best to answer all questions put to me. And, in the end, I get this message that I should just shut up and go away. Or compromise what I believe to be true. Take your word for things when I see it all completely differently. Should I cowtow and succumb to pressure. Or should I stay steadfast in what I sincerely and honestly believe to be true?

    I think I’ll stay true to myself if it’s all the same to you.

  102. I need a bit more definition of what guided evolution could be.

    I don’t believe you. No one who reads ID material could possibly be that clueless.

    I don’t think I’m naive at all. But there are other opinions obviously.

    Well, yes there is always the option of self deception or worse.

    I think I have pointed to the evidence.

    OK, let’s examine exhibit A of what you call “evidence.”

    A powerful case for universal common descent with modification from an initial basic replicator via natural cumulative selection and other unguided processes.

    Not even one of your fellow Darwinists would accept that statement of belief as an example of empirically-based evidence. Frankly, I am starting to feel guilty for taking advantage of you.

    Let’s check out exhibit B

    I think fossils, genomes, morphogies, geographic distributions and breeding records all combine together and form a very powerful case.

    Now my conscience is really starting to bother me. It’s like shooting a puck into a net where there is no goalie.

    I’m one of them? You don’t even know who I am!! Just because I disagree with you you’re making me part of some conspiracy. I’ve never done any of the things you mention. What would it benefit Wikipedia to pick sides in the matter?

    If anyone takes you seriously after this exchange, there really is a conspiracy!

  103. Upright Biped:

    “Materialist ideologues will say literally anything in the defense of their worldview. It’s anti-intellectualism at its finest.”

    Sometimes, I lie awake at night, worrying that one of them might become president of the United States. Oh wait……

  104. “Most important, when you say that an organism’s design patters are not as significant as an artifact’s design patterns on the grounds that an organism is different from an artifact, you are indeed, engaging in a non-sequitor. Realizing that problem, an appropriate response would go something like this: “Now that I understand that artifacts and organisms have something in common, namely information, I recognize that the information in a DNA molecule is as much or more of an indicator of design as the information in a designed ancient hunter’s spear or, for that matter, the information in a designed written paragraph. Therefore, I will accept the former as real evidence for design and against random formation just as I accepted the latter as real evidence for design and against random formation. Accordingly, I will stop saying that ID has no evidence on the grounds that organisms are different than artifacts.”

    Yes, my name is Gregory. I have something in common with Eileen, because she also has ‘e’ in her name.

    Information alone is not enough. We (meaning people) must gain knowledge, based on that information. The IDT claim is that ‘organic information’ is equal to ‘artefactual information.’ That claim is quite obviously misleading.

    What makes the premise misleading is that it is entirely un-reflexive, that is, it doesn’t take into account the embodied person who is postulating the meaning (and purpose) of ‘information.’ Instead, IDT tries to operate in a disembodied, dehumanised, objectivistic ‘information-out-there’ approach, which is why it intentionally blurs the line between artefacts into organisms. Iow, IDT is guilty of taking a social scientific premise (intelligence) and trying to turn it into a natural scientific conclusion (design). There is really no defence against this reality due to the prolific use of human analogies by ID leaders.

    The ‘design’ that we (i.e. most human beings) know and can scientifically work with is what is studied by the non-Big-ID ‘design theories.’ These are demonstrated most recently at the international conference on ‘design’ that I attended along with 1400 others. That number of participants (non-ideologues) is vastly more than *any* IDT conference has ever gathered in the history of the IDM, not because of unjust persecution (cf. ‘Expelled’), but because the topic was ‘design’ that can actually be studied scientifically, i.e. reflexively.

    IDT otoh, is properly understood as a combination of science, philosophy and theology/worldview, which is why it is promoted mainly by evangelical Christian networks in the USA. Anyone wishing to challenge this fact should have some sociological arguments to back them up. I don’t think those sociological arguments are available and defended a master’s thesis on the topic, later attending the DI’s summer program to verify this fact.

    Bottom-line, when in dialogue with folks like StephenB, my aim is to try to encourage them to think reflexively. But this, my friends, is obviously a very, very, very difficult task, given that StephenB, and even many people reading this message at UD were born and raised in a society that is anything but reflexive. Objectivity and certainty is what you are trained to seek (along with ‘greatest country on earth’ and ‘most important society for humanity’ status). Yet you have a clear and present deficit of Philosophy of Science in the USA, which makes globally-minded dialogue on this topic especially difficult for you and which shows why the USA scores amongst the lowest nations in the world in its knowledge of evolutionary theories (and why there are so many young earthers in USA).

    Once reflexivity is openly acknowledged and practiced, the fantastic appeals to scientific neutrality of IDT can be properly abandoned so that deeper and more important insights about how and why ‘we design’ can replace the simple ‘it is designed’ mantra, i.e. the hyper-speculative (dogmatic) pseudo-ontological idea at the heart of IDT. But please don’t misunderstand me; it’s not that I think you need a complete heart transplant, but that your Theory’s heart is not being humanely nourished by reflexive thought, by philosophy and theology/worldview the way it should/could be.

    “All ID proponents accept guided evolution and reject unguided evolution. Design detection, which is the purpose of the ID paradigms, is independent of questions about when the design was implemented, which is beyond the range of ID methodology. That you would ask such a question suggests that you do not understand the basic principles of design detection.”

    As most non-IDists are fully aware, ‘ID proponents’ don’t have diddly-squat (i.e. nothing) for natural scientific evidence of ‘guided evolution.’ So they cry ‘show us’ to Theistic Evolution proponents, who actually have the courage to try to unify science, philosophy, theology/worldview dialogue, while ID proponents feign neutralistic ‘just-natural-science’ fairytales. There’s a big difference in these two approaches. Take your problems to BioLogos in an attempt at unity with your fellow evangelicals if you have them.

    The claim that one can convincingly ‘detect’ something (anything) in a historical vacuum, i.e. without asking ‘when’ the detection is taking place is science fiction, not science. People are always going to ask when, where and how. But that science fiction fantasy pro-ID has already been promoted by about 50% of the ID leaders (Johnson, Dembski, Wells) in public. You folks, are stuck with this leadership if you so choose it (and I’ve met Wells, Dembski and corresponded with Johnson, and don’t so choose it).

    Real ‘design theory’ is prolific in scholarly thought today. IDT, on the other marginal hand, is in contrast to real ‘design theory’ a rather distorted (ghost-apologetic) fantasy of the common (artefactual) meaning of ‘design’.

    Making a new narrow technical meaning of ‘design’ is obviously part of the IDology.

    Gregory

    p.s. awaiting Eric’s response to ‘different kinds of design theory’

  105. p.p.s. I’m not a ‘Darwinist’ nor a ‘materialist,’ to repeat what has already been said

  106. 106

    Jerad,

    You cannot refute the argument I gave you, but you will subsequently refuse to integrate that evidence.

    This is what’s behind the pity party you threw in #101. It’s better for you if the focus is on how terribly you’re treated here at UD then on the fact that any instance of information transfer requires an irreducibly complex set of two material objects which must (as a empirical and logical necessity) instantiate an arbitrary relationship within a physical system.

  107. ID proponents seem to want to live in some kind of rarified atmosphere where logic and inference are sufficient to prove existence.

    god, no. People might confuse us with mathematicians!

  108. Gregory:

    IDT is guilty of taking a social scientific premise (intelligence) and trying to turn it into a natural scientific conclusion (design). There is really no defence against this reality due to the prolific use of human analogies by ID leaders.

    LOL. Gregory is guilty of taking a psychological concept (intelligence) and trying to turn it into a social scientific premise.

    Or, maybe intelligence is an anthropological concept, or a legal concept, or a psychiatric concept, or a scientific concept, or a spiritual concept, or an educational concept…..or maybe its meaning depends on the way it is being defined and the specialized context in which it is being used.

    Ironically, Gregory invested 948 words to claim sole ownership of a word and define it in a self-serving way, but I only invested 98 words to expose his presumptions
    When your only tool is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.

  109. Gregory:

    Would you agree with this, Eric: ID Theory is a different ‘design/Design theory’ than those ‘other design theories’ (including Universal Design, for which I provided a link)? Iow, would you agree that ID Theory posits an ‘other kind of design/Design’ from what most people mean when they say ‘design’?

    I wouldn’t look at it that way. Intelligent design is a broad concept that encompasses all design by intelligent agents. I look at ID’s concept of design in the very straight-forward, everyday, common-sense use of the word “design;” the same way the word is generally used by most people when they talk about something being designed. The Universal Design idea you linked to (which is really just another example of thoughtful design planning and implementation — incorporating flexibility, process, forethought of long term needs, etc.) is an example of intelligent design and not some separate kind of “design” from what intelligent design covers. Either something was designed with input of an intelligent agent or it wasn’t.

    —–

    (Incidentally, I’m not completely clear what you mean when you keep referring to “design/Design”. Are you trying to suggest there are two different ID theories, one of which is interested in design generally and one of which is interested in some kind of theological implication?)

  110. StephenB (102):

    I need a bit more definition of what guided evolution could be.

    I don’t believe you. No one who reads ID material could possibly be that clueless.

    What a shame, I was hoping you’d give me some insight into your view at least. You ask me for evidence that my view is correct and you’re not willing to give me your complete view. And why is that? Why the reluctance? Without knowing what kind of guided you mean I can’t really judge your hypothesis.

    I don’t think I’m naive at all. But there are other opinions obviously.

    Well, yes there is always the option of self deception or worse.

    I don’t understand your rudeness. If you don’t want to discuss things further then why not just stop responding?

    A powerful case for universal common descent with modification from an initial basic replicator via natural cumulative selection and other unguided processes.

    Not even one of your fellow Darwinists would accept that statement of belief as an example of empirically-based evidence. Frankly, I am starting to feel guilty for taking advantage of you.

    Well obviously that’s not the evidence!! You know what I think the evidence is.

    I think fossils, genomes, morphogies, geographic distributions and breeding records all combine together and form a very powerful case.

    Now my conscience is really starting to bother me. It’s like shooting a puck into a net where there is no goalie.

    You’re good at making snide remarks but not so good at reinterpreting the data in your view and explaining it to me. For example: why are lemurs only naturally found on Madagascar? How does that support your version of guided evolution? Or: why does the genetic code have codon functional redundancy? I think you probably have answers for those two examples from the point of view of your version of guided evolution but you avoid answering for some reason.

    Will you at least tell me why you’re not going to tell me what you mean by guided evolution and how your view differs from others?

    If anyone takes you seriously after this exchange, there really is a conspiracy!

    So you’re not really interested in a dialogue in the end? Because I don’t agree with you? Because you think I”m playing a game? What game would I be playing? What could I possibly gain?

    I come to UD in hopes of more fully understanding what ID proponents are saying but no one wants to tell me anything beyond: there’s obvious design in nature and if you ask more questions you’re a fool or a knave. You complained about evolution supporters dismissing people who disagree with them, are you not doing the same thing? Without even trying to explain your entire position?

  111. UBP (106):

    You cannot refute the argument I gave you, but you will subsequently refuse to integrate that evidence.

    I started reading the thread where you lay out your ideas. I find it complicated and I don’t want to ask questions until I’ve made a good attempt at grasping it and I’m certainly not going to challenge it (IF I’m going to challenge it) until I’m pretty sure I understand it.

    This is what’s behind the pity party you threw in #101. It’s better for you if the focus is on how terribly you’re treated here at UD then on the fact that any instance of information transfer requires an irreducibly complex set of two material objects which must (as a empirical and logical necessity) instantiate an arbitrary relationship within a physical system.

    They’re completely separate issues! Who is going to let one influence their view of the other??

    I’ll address your argument when I’ve grasped it. Information theory is not something I’m good at.

  112. Eric @109,

    This requires a shorter answer, starting with a question (it is like McLuhan’s aphorism: For your information let me ask you a question.):
    What makes you think ‘intelligent design/Intelligent Design’ (distinction explained below or see here) isn’t an example of ‘universal design,’ instead of vice versa as you suggest?

    The “very straight-forward, everyday, common-sense use of the word ‘design’” (a sociological appeal), is quite obviously *NOT* about OoL, OoBI or human origins. Those are specialist topics for a very few scientists, philosophers, theologians, information and knowledge about which reaches the public second-hand. If you don’t (or won’t) recognise this, there is little hope you will understand the reality of why people reject Intelligent Design Theory, especially theists.

    “Either something was designed with input of an intelligent agent or it wasn’t.” – Eric

    What KIND of ‘intelligent agent’ are you referring to? Your Theory has little explanatory power if you don’t want to ask that question. My neo-id approach is unafraid to ask this question, which gives it much more explanatory power than ID Theory and requires less dependency on ‘implications’. Have you considered the idea of Human Extension yet, Eric?

    “Intelligent design is a broad concept that encompasses all design by intelligent agents.” – Eric

    IF what you mean by ‘intelligent design’ (by which I mean Intelligent Design Theory) really “encompasses all design by intelligent agents,” then by definition it CAN study designers, design processes, design strategies, etc. But afaik it is a condition of Intelligent Design Theory that it does not (read: cannot or will not) study designers/Designers, design/Design processes, design/Design strategies, etc. That is simply not part of the Theory of Intelligent Design. Do you disagree with ID leaders about this?

    Big-ID vs. small-id is an important clarification made for this communicative purpose. Universal design theorists and all other non-Big-ID ‘design theorists’ simply don’t have to add the qualifier ‘intelligent’ to their ‘design theory’ because intelligence is (always) already implied in their theories (even if it is not quantified). It would be redundant for them to add the qualifier ‘intelligence,’ so they don’t. This makes ‘Intelligent Design Theory’ a different KIND of ‘design theory,’ which was and is my main point to you – the source of Myth #6 about IDT.

    “I’m not completely clear what you mean when you keep referring to ‘design/Design’.” – Eric

    OoL is a categorically different topic/field of study from how to ‘design’ one’s grocery list. If you won’t admit this, it is easy to see that you are trying to ‘universalize’ the concept of ‘design/Design’ for your own theoretical purposes (i.e. regarding implications of ID Theory), which people are free to reject and usually do.

    This would be the case, unless you are suggesting OoL and OoBI occurred ‘naturalistically,’ iow, w/out any supernatural or supranatural input. Otherwise you are saying you believe that OoL and OoBI were Big-D Designed. Are you not saying this?

    small-d-design refers to human-made things, while Big-D-Design refers to things that couldn’t have possibly been made by human beings, which therefore require a special KIND of appeal to Aliens (unknown civilisations) or God(s).

    p.s. StephenB – psychology is a social science.

  113. 113

    Jerad,

    The argument I provided defines the objects within the system strictly in terms of their materiality. This removes ambiguity from the definitions, and unfortunately for the opposition, it also removes all that luxurious wiggle room they so enjoy maneuvering with during debate.

    Consequently, a very productive defensive strategy among the opposition has been to simply throw up one’s hands and claim they can’t understand the argument. This not only provides an immediate intellectual shelter from having to face the material facts, but also allows plenty of time to hurl insults while treading water.

    I predict that you will not deviate substantially from this pattern. Sadly enough, I find that prediction easy to make.

  114. Gregory:

    As most non-IDists are fully aware, ‘ID proponents’ don’t have diddly-squat (i.e. nothing) for natural scientific evidence of ‘guided evolution.’

    That is not true- read “Not By Chance” by Dr Lee Spetner. Then there is johnny b on UD who also has something along those lines.

    The claim that one can convincingly ‘detect’ something (anything) in a historical vacuum, i.e. without asking ‘when’ the detection is taking place is science fiction, not science.

    What does that even mean? Of course we can detect an object was designed without knowing when it was designed. And we can detect that an object was designed without knowing who designed it nor how it was designed.

  115. UBP (113):

    The argument I provided defines the objects within the system strictly in terms of their materiality. This removes ambiguity from the definitions, and unfortunately for the opposition, it also removes all that luxurious wiggle room they so enjoy maneuvering with during debate.

    I will have another bash at it shortly. My brain doesn’t really work that way!!

    Consequently, a very productive defensive strategy among the opposition has been to simply throw up one’s hands and claim they can’t understand the argument. This not only provides an immediate intellectual shelter from having to face the material facts, but also allows plenty of time to hurl insults while treading water.

    I haven’t really followed the conversation. I did notice a lot of discussion about the definition of arbitrary though.

    I predict that you will not deviate substantially from this pattern. Sadly enough, I find that prediction easy to make.

    If I don’t get the argument I won’t ask a lot of dumb questions.

  116. 116

    Jerad,

    Again, there is nothing whatsoever hard to understand about the argument – not the the least of which is the use of the word “arbitrary”.

    If you return to claim you just can’t understand the argument, you will discredit yourself, just as the others have.

    :|

  117. Jerad:

    For example: why are lemurs only naturally found on Madagascar? How does that support your version of guided evolution? Or: why does the genetic code have codon functional redundancy?

    Living forms will be more or less well adapted to their environment and will therefore produce more or less offspring thereby affecting the allele frequencies in the overall population.

    Evolutionary theory is actually quite simple and elegant and has a lot of explanatory power.

    How does the claim that “allele frequencies change” explain why lemurs are only naturally found on Madagascar?

    How does the claim that “allele frequencies change” explain why the genetic code has codon functional redundancy?

    Jerad:

    Perhaps we’d best just stick to discussing the science eh?

    A powerful case for universal common descent with modification from an initial basic replicator via natural cumulative selection and other unguided processes.

    Sure. Let’s stick to discussing the science of “other unguided processes.” First, I wasn’t aware that there was a science of unguided processes. Can you tell us about that?

  118. I’d like to express some sympathy with at least one of Gregory’ points.

    I think it could be helpful to expand ID to include more of what actually goes on in the process of design.

    For example:

    Universal Principles of Design

    How Designers Think

    Design thinking

    IMO, this could help strengthen the design inference.

  119. Jerad:

    I come to UD in hopes of more fully understanding what ID proponents are saying but no one wants to tell me anything beyond: there’s obvious design in nature and if you ask more questions you’re a fool or a knave.

    That’s a pretty simplistic and hardly accurate distillation of the discussions you’ve been involved in here at UD.

    The fact is that many have offered to help you understand ID more deeply, but you never want to go there, claiming certain things are off-limits for you.

    So when you refuse to discuss ID and then claim we refuse to discuss ID it doesn’t reflect well on you, and that could explain some of the current attitude towards you that you’ve been seeing here lately.

  120. Myths About ID

    ID assumes the existence of a designer.

    Distinguishing Between Inferences and Assumptions

  121. So, Jerad, I have a question for you.

    Does mathematics ever rely on inference?

    Some Conspicuous Patterns

    This is a guide to the practical art of plausible reasoning, particularly in mathematics but also in every field of human activity. Using mathematics as the example par excellence, Professor Polya shows how even that most rigorous deductive discipline is heavily dependent on techniques of guessing, inductive reasoning, and reasoning by analogy.

    Does mathematics require independent proofs for each of it’s inferences?

  122. StephenB @ 80

    “Well, at least we both agree that there is no evidence to justify the proposition that unguided, materialistic evolution can produce biodiversity.”

    Jerad @ 85

    “And no, just to be clear, I am NOT agreeing that there is no evidence to support the proposition that unguided and natural processes are responsible for the biodiversity we observe today. I think it’s prudent to look for more evidence though.”

    StephenB @88

    “Yes, I know that you think that Darwinism (Darwin’s General Theory) is the best model, but, as I have pointed out many times, there is no evidence at all to support that model. According to all the evidence that we have, random variation, natural selection, or genetic drift can produce only minor changes in a species (Darwin’s Special Theory), which means, again according to the evidence, that if macro evolution occurred, there must be some other explanation, such as guided, purposeful, or programmed evolution (compatible with Intelligent Design).”

    “On the other hand, you claim that Darwin’s anti-ID, General Theory of Evolution is the best model, yet neither you or anyone in your camp can provide any evidence to support it. At best, you can produce some evidence for Darwin’s Special Theory, which no one in the ID community disputes. Are you now prepared to concede that fact?”

    Jerad @96

    “I think there is lots and lots of evidence to support universal common descent with modification from an initial basic replicator via only unguided processes. I think fossils, genomes, morphogies, geographic distributions and breeding records all combine together and form a very powerful case.”

    StephenB @98

    “Well, then, please step up and be the first Darwinist to provide that evidence.”

    Jerad @99

    “I think I have already presented the evidence.”

    OK, here we go again, Jerad. Please present the post number on this thread where you presented the evidence for Darwin’s General Theory of Evolution.

  123. And remember, paraphrasing Sec. Clinton, a post is not evidence.

  124. Gregory @112:

    I don’t know why you think reference to design is a sociological appeal. My dictionary includes the following typical definitions of design: (i) to plan and fashion artistically or skillfully; (ii) to form or conceive in the mind; contrive; plan; (iii) to intend for a definite purpose; (iv) to prepare or plan the form and structure of an object, work of art, etc.

    If you are pointing out that some people take the inference to design in biology and use it to support their religious/philosophical/sociological views, then fine. I certainly understand some people do that. But that is not part of the design inference itself.

    What KIND of ‘intelligent agent’ are you referring to? Your Theory has little explanatory power if you don’t want to ask that question. My neo-id approach is unafraid to ask this question, which gives it much more explanatory power than ID Theory . . .

    Look, I realize you and lots of other people are disappointed that ID does not get into the question of the designer’s identity or characteristics (beyond what can be ascertained from the artifact itself). Oh well. You can continue to be disappointed that ID does not address those issues and you are free to propose something else beyond the design inference. The design inference is a very limited inquiry and it is what it is. It would be improper to try to make it into more than it is.

    IF what you mean by ‘intelligent design’ (by which I mean Intelligent Design Theory) really “encompasses all design by intelligent agents,” then by definition it CAN study designers, design processes, design strategies, etc.

    It sounds like your complaint with ID is that it does not seek to cover everything that can ever be known or theorized about design. True, ID does not seek to cover all those things. The concept of design detection (i.e., the inference to design) is applicable to all design across fields. But ID is not a theory about particular approaches to design, the history of human design, the various changing design strategies in the latest textbooks, all manufacturing, design and engineering processes, etc. Of course ID does not address all those areas. It is not intended to.

    I don’t have any problem with someone taking the design inference and then asking follow-up questions about how something may have been designed, what kinds of design strategies may have been implemented, what kinds of hierarchies and principles appear to have been incorporated in the design and so on. Indeed, I think that is a great idea, as Mung notes. Those are interesting questions and can be asked in their own right about certain objects and systems and are typically asked once we already have gotten to the point where we know or feel confident inferring that the thing was designed.

    Again, there is no point in complaining that ID does not answer all the questions. It is not intended to. It never will. It is not a theory of everything. It is asks a very simple, basic question.

    Now, I will agree that there is value for a practitioner to incorporate design processes, strategies, approaches, etc. into their study of biology. They will be more successful and gain more insights than if they take the materialist view of biology as a long series of accidental particle interactions. We have already seen examples of this fruitful approach. However, while incorporating the latest and greatest ideas about design strategies and approaches may be enhanced by one’s conclusion that the system was intelligently designed, I think we need to keep straight the fact that the initial design inference is a separate issue.

    OoL is a categorically different topic/field of study from how to ‘design’ one’s grocery list.

    Well, certainly there is a massive difference in the amount of information involved, the skill required, the type of system constructed. But it is unclear why you think there are fundamentally different categories of design detection. Again, ID is interested in design detection. Whether something is more or less intricate, is more or less remarkable is a separate issue. Design is a very simple concept and can be understood in the very simple straight-forward way with the common definitions I cited at the beginning of this comment. Your distinction between small-d and Big-D is itself an artifical construct to try and categorize things into human-made and non-human-made sets. I don’t begrudge you that approach and it is OK as a subsequent add-on inquiry, but it comes after, and is not directly relevant to, the ability to detect design per se.

  125. Gregory:

    I should add that to the extent we see particular design principles and strategies implemented in biology (or any other system we are looking at), that might give us further reason to suspect that the system in question was designed. So in that sense I think it would be interesting for all of us (and I certainly include myself) to become more versed in human design principles and strategies (for example, just last night my son and I were discussing possible strategies for implementing a particular function he is trying to incorporate in a C++ program he is working on). However, and this is the key, ID argues that design can be detected on the basis of complex, specified, functional information. It is not necessary that the system implement any particular design strategy or approach to be designed, so we cannot use the absence in our system of whatever the latest-and-greatest design concept is as evidence that the system was not designed.

    Stated succinctly, observing design strategies and principles implemented in biology may add to the evidence for design, but it is not necessary (and perhaps not sufficient, although that is an additional question in itself (I suspect that, in close inspection, particular design strategies would end up being a sub-category of CSFI)).

  126. Jerad (I think) asked about what my “model” for design was. This question came up last week, but between numerous Halloween parties and watching the Giants sweep the Tigers I didn’t get a chance to respond.

    Sorry to disappoint, but there is not a particular model for design, unless you want some generalized refresher on how intelligent agents design (have an idea or goal in mind; study the relevant principles (say, aerodynamics, if building a plane); implement the design, often with iterations and testing).

    On the other hand, if you are looking for a mechanistic model of design, you won’t find one. Because design is not reducible to mechanical necessity (matter and energy). For example, I can’t give you a model for how the bacterial flagellum was designed any more than you can give me a “model” for how Beethoven or Bach came up with their symphonies. That is not how creative intelligent design works.

    Materialistic approaches, including Darwinism, are (by definition) mechanistic theories, driven purely by matter and energy. They need to come up with a plausible mechanism or “model.” Design is not a mechanistic theory and does not propose that there is a particular “model” of design.

    That may seem unfair, but that is just the reality of the two theories. One is mechanistic; the other is not.

  127. Mung @19. That’s pretty interesting stuff. I think that part of the difficulty consists in the fact that, among other complex factors, design as [a] creativity or art, is a little different than [b] design as matching a solution to a problem–and yet both can be combined. Mozart was designing as [a] but Stephen Jobs was designing primarily as [b] and perhaps secondarily as [a]. [One can solve a problem, but he can also do it with “style” to serve and stimulate the market.

    In many respects, the design that comes from the individual’s imagination, is unrepeatable (there will never be another Bach), but the design that comes form having applied the problem solving “method,” can, to some extent, be replicated.

    We can, in a derivative way, show someone how to do define the problem, compare alternatives, apply judgment etc, but it is more problematic to show someone how to compose, because true creativity in the artistic sense is inseparable from individuality. Granted, one can find a role model to get the creative process going, but in the end, creative designers fail to develop their potential for uniqueness not because they lack the know how but because, they lack the courage to ignore public criticism and express their individual identity. To be different is to pay a price.

    Even at that, I am describing only 2 aspects of a multi-dimensional phenomenon, all of which are equally important. So, it seems to me that much of this fuss about “how the designer did it” is, in large part, an attempt to discredit the accomplishment of design detection because it “doesn’t do enough.” If some genius comes along to build on the work of Dembski, Behe, et al, that would be great, but if it happens, it will be a result of the kind of creative spark that cannot be summoned at will.

    Many design critics simply want their own gig, but they possess only half of equipment needed to make a significant contribution. Anti-ID scientists, who typically lack creativity, invest their time looking for methodological and mathematical loopholes; anti-ID humanitarians, who lack the scientific knowledge, conjure up impractical paradigms that no one cares about. As I analyze the work of both partisan types, I am often temped to wonder: How sour can grapes get? It seems that just cannot live with the fact that someone got there first. As Fulton J. Sheen once put it, “Jealousy is the tribute that mediocrity pays to genius.”

  128. Reference to Mung @120.

  129. Eric:

    Jerad (I think) asked about what my “model” for design was. This question came up last week…

    I think Kantian Naturalist also raised the question of a model.

    I think we can develop a model, though I’m not sure how satisfactory it may be to the critics.

    But as Upright BiPed points out, and I think he has a valid argument, certain things must be true for design to be instantiated into a material system.

    So it would be up to us to define what those things are and they would constitute the basis for any model.

    To that end I think David L. Able has made some significant contributions.

  130. Mung @129:

    All fair points. We’re obviously dealing with a very vague and generalized — and possibly shifting — definition of what a “model” is in all these discussions. I don’t disagree with what you list. Indeed, I think UB has laid out in pretty adequate detail what he is talking about in terms of how information is instantiated in a medium.

    At the end of the day, though, we end up with the remaining central question: can we confidently infer design? Are purely natural processes up to the task? No-one (except the occasional recalcitrant individual who argues just for argument’s sake) disputes that many biological systems are wonderfully complex and intricate, that they contain real information, that they are examples of exquisite engineering, etc. But many people still convince themsleves that all of these wonders can arise from mindless matter in motion.

    So we can talk about design principles, design strategies, and what is required for design to be instantiated in a material system all we want. And the committed materialist, if unable or unwilling to accept the design inference, will sit there and nod and say, “Yes, yes, these are amazing systems. And if I stir my warm little pond and wait a few million years it can produce the same thing.”

    The basic fundamental willingness to consider the possibility of purposeful design is the key to the discussion, not some more precise “model” of how to design stuff, nor particular observations about which design strategies were incorporated and so forth. I think all those things are very valuable to those of us who accept design as real, because they can lead to new and additional insights. But for objectors who keep demanding such details before they will accept the design inference in the first place, it is just a debating tactic in order to avoid the central issue.

    For those who are unable or unwilling to consider the possibility of design, every example of exquisite design, remarkable function, or awe-inspiring engineering will just be regarded as yet one more example of the magical powers of evolution.

  131. @Eric #124

    The ‘sociological appeal’ you made is to the “very straight-forward, everyday, common-sense use of the word ‘design’.” Peoples’ usage of ‘design’ is a sociological phenomenon. I was not referring in that sentence to the definitions themselves.

    Can you please confirm or deny that you are suggesting the “very straight-forward, everyday, common-sense use of the word ‘design’” is about OoL, OoBI or human origins? That is a question I would like an answer to. In my view, your contention is a sociological false-hood.

    As I’ve surveyed people (informally), most people don’t everyday use the word ‘design’ about OoL, OoBI or human origins. Only hardcore IDists think OoL, OoBI or human origins when they hear/read the word ‘design,’ thus deviating themselves from ‘normal’ contexts of that term’s use = Myth #6. This is what defines ID Theory per se as Theory because it focuses (almost exclusively) on OoL, OoBI and/or human origins, thus presenting a different KIND of ‘design theory’ from common-sense usage.

    The (i)-(iv) definitions of ‘design’ you cited, Eric, are all unquestionably wrt human-making. These definitions serve to confirm my point; that Intelligent Design (Big-ID) Theory is different – it is not what most people think about when they hear the term ‘design.’ 1399 recent conference-goers agree with me and not with you or the IDM! For some reason, you turn a deaf ear to their meanings of ‘design’ and instead wish to substitute IDT, expecting people to adopt your uncommon, narrowly-focused meaning.

    It’s not that I’m disappointed with ID. Simply I pointed out its lack of explanatory power. You haven’t addressed this lack of explanatory power directly, Eric. Granted, you called IDT “a very limited inquiry.” I guess we’ll have to leave it at that for now (whereas Dembski calls this “very limited inquiry” a ‘Revolution’!) if you won’t directly address IDT’s lack of explanatory power because it doesn’t address who, when, where, how or why questions.

    “It sounds like your complaint with ID is that it does not seek to cover everything that can ever be known or theorized about design.” – Eric

    Actually, ID as you are presenting it covers both human-made and non-human made things. That is type of a covering theory.

    “it is unclear why you think there are fundamentally different categories of design detection.” – Eric

    I already explained this above and in the link provided, about which you made no comment. And it is far from me alone who understands the categorical conflation IDT is making, the dependence on analogy between human-made and non-human-made things.

    “Your distinction between small-d and Big-D is itself an artifical construct to try and categorize things into human-made and non-human-made sets. I don’t begrudge you that approach and it is OK as a subsequent add-on inquiry, but it comes after, and is not directly relevant to, the ability to detect design per se.” – Eric

    Your ‘design inference’ is also an ‘artificial construct’ that makes an attempt at universalizing design (even while you call it a “very limited inquiry”), leading sometimes to the ideology of ‘designism’. Here I’m simply following others who have made this important distinction between small-d and Big-D, e.g. Owen Gingerich. It is a significant problem, Eric, that for one reason or another you don’t seem able or willing to follow the logic of why people make a distinction between small-d and Big-D. My attempt at explaining this to you must soon come to an end.

    Human-made and non-human-made are legitimately different ‘sets.’ You are trying to conflate them, Eric, but you are not succeeding and will not succeed. It is obvious to “straight-forward, everyday, common-sense” that OoL, OoBI and human origins belong to a different category of dialogue than human-made things, the latter which involve a ‘reflexive’ rather than just an ‘objectivistic’ component.

    This is not merely an ‘add-on,’ but is rather fundamental. It is ID’s insurmountable opponent. It is the hurdle that it simply cannot clear.

  132. UBP (116):

    Again, there is nothing whatsoever hard to understand about the argument – not the the least of which is the use of the word “arbitrary”.

    I have read the original post several times and am trying to at least skim the responses.

    If you return to claim you just can’t understand the argument, you will discredit yourself, just as the others have.

    I’m not worried about discrediting myself, I’ll just stick to being honest.

  133. Eric (126):

    Sorry to disappoint, but there is not a particular model for design, unless you want some generalized refresher on how intelligent agents design (have an idea or goal in mind; study the relevant principles (say, aerodynamics, if building a plane); implement the design, often with iterations and testing).

    What I meant was more along the lines of when was design implemented? Are you thinking of a purely front-loading scenario or . . . .

    I would think that the evidence in DNA would indicate whether or not design had been imposed once, few or many times.

  134. StephenB (122):

    OK, here we go again, Jerad. Please present the post number on this thread where you presented the evidence for Darwin’s General Theory of Evolution.

    I’m pretty sure you know what I consider evidence (the fossil record, the genetic record, morphological comparisons, geologic distributions and breeding records) so I’m at a loss as to what else you want me to say.

    I know you don’t consider that evidence ‘good enough’ so is there any point in continuing to ask me for evidence?

  135. Jerad,

    Breeding records do not support universal common descent. The fossil record does not support universal common descent, the genetic record does not support universal common descent, morphological comparisons do not support universal common descent and geologic distributions in no way support universal common descent.

    Never mind universal common descent via accumulations of random mutations.

    The fossil record shows fish-> tetrapods-> fish-a-pods- you lose.

    There isn’t any genetic evidence that supports the transformations- you lose

    Morphology- well marsupials and their placental cousins are morphologically similar, no common descent there- you lose

    Breeding shows severe limits to the phenotypic plasticity of a population- you lose

  136. 136

    Jerad,

    Because of your ideological limitations, you cannot integrate the material evidence. This leaves you very few options. There is a very clear pattern where time after time opponents will argue for days, weeks, and even months over silly objections, only to begrudgingly accept whatever trivial matter they were arguing over – immmediately followed by yet another silly objection. Others watch in silence, only to pipe up and scoff at the argument after the detbate ends. Others, refuse to enage at all.

    And of course, the truly well-engineered response is to appear entirely pleasant and balanced as the hopeless denial of material evidence goes down. Apparently, the abject refusal of physical evidence among the sciency is best performed while prim and proper.

    Sadly, you will not deviate from this pattern.

    Conversely, there is nothing you can say to me that I must deny.

  137. 137

    Jerad, sorry that my 136 sounds so inenvitable, but it simply is what it is.

    You have few options.

    :|

  138. Jerad @133:

    What I meant was more along the lines of when was design implemented? Are you thinking of a purely front-loading scenario or . . . .

    It is typically not possible to ascertain when design was implemented from the artifact itself. We may have some idea from other clues (dating the artifact, etc.), but those are really just guesses. For example, if I open up my computer and examine the system, absent some outside information, I can’t say exactly when this or that part was implemented in the design.

    As for biology, I have no issue with design being implemented at various times and places. Front loading is an interesting possibility, but I have no need to believe that this is the only possibility. After all, the whole idea of an intelligent agent is that the intelligent agent can act. There is no rational reason why the intelligent agent would be restricted to acting at a particular time or place.

    In my experience, many people who push the frong-loading idea do so for two reasons: (i) either because they think it is more compatible with some kind of universal or modified-universal descent scenario; or (ii) they have a philosophical aversion to the intelligent agent “interferring” in the history of life after OOL. The first is reasonable, although probably not nearly as needed as is sometimes thought. The second is an unsupportable philosophical assumption.

    I would think that the evidence in DNA would indicate whether or not design had been imposed once, few or many times.

    Possibly we might find some clues, but I don’t think it is nearly as straight-forward as you think. Partly because the design process is a process. If I open up my computer I can’t tell the timing of when particular parts were implemented. But it didn’t just “poof” into existence at a single point in time, so — by definition — design is imposed, as you say, more than at one moment. There was no doubt a process of design and development, typically with higher structural layers being set out first.

    Again, I have no issue with the idea of design being imposed at various points in the history of life. Just as an example, there are several times during the history of life when there is an infusion of information (e.g., cambrian explosion; transition to humans; etc.). It is possible those were all front-loaded, but the evidence for that is far from conclusive. Design could have been included at various points along the path.

  139. Jared:

    I’m pretty sure you know what I consider evidence (the fossil record, the genetic record, morphological comparisons, geologic distributions and breeding records) so I’m at a loss as to what else you want me to say.

    OK, I will try to make things more clear. There is a difference between an argument (claim) and the evidence that supports it.

    Example:

    Claim–A college educated person makes more money than a high school graduate.

    Evidence — In 2002, The University of Georgetown conducted a study which shows that the average lifetime earnings of a Bachelor’s degree holder was $2.7 million (2009 dollars), 75 percent more than that earned by high school graduates. The study drew its findings using a random sample of 1000 people, all of whom live in the United States.

    Your Claim : The fossil record, the genetic record, morphological comparisons, geologic distributions, and breeding records all indicate that macro evolution (universal common descent) occurred, and further, that naturalistic forces such as random variation, natural selection, and genetic drift drove that proceess from beginning to end. (Darwin’s General Theory of Evolution)

    Your empirical evidence ……………………????? In fact, there is no empirical evidence to support that claim

    You (and all Darwinists) continue to advance the argument, but you offer no evidence to support it. That is because there is no evidence to support it. Thousands of people are reading our discussion, and many of them are Darwinists. Do you think they would allow me to get away with my claim if they could refute it? There is some evidence for [a] uncommon descent and much evidence against it, but there is no evidence whatsoever for the claim [b] that naturalistic forces can drive that process through all the taxonomic levels. (Darwin’s General Theory).

    I know you don’t consider that evidence ‘good enough’ so is there any point in continuing to ask me for evidence?

    A claim will not suffice for evidence.

  140. Related to design, for those signed up with Coursera, there are a lot of other interesting classes available, including:

    https://www.coursera.org/course/crypto

    https://www.coursera.org/course/design

    I’m not sure if you can still sign up for the second one. It started last week.

  141. StephenB (139):

    Your Claim : The fossil record, the genetic record, morphological comparisons, geologic distributions, and breeding records all indicate that macro evolution (universal common descent) occurred, and further, that naturalistic forces such as random variation, natural selection, and genetic drift drove that proceess from beginning to end. (Darwin’s General Theory of Evolution)

    Your empirical evidence ……………………????? In fact, there is no empirical evidence to support that claim

    If universal common descent with modification via unguided processes is true then we would expect to see a fossil record similar to the one we have. We would expect to see genomes similar to the ones we have. We would expect morphologies and geologic deposits much like the ones we have. And we would expect to be able to selectively breed for traits.

    If intelligent design/guided evolution is true then we wouldn’t necessarily see the same kind of physical records depending on what kind of ID/guided evolution we were talking about. A designer would not be as limited as natural forces.

    Given that, why aren’t those physical records evidence for common descent at least and strongly suggestive of universal common descent with modification via unguided processes? Many ID proponents make arguments considering the fossil record as being a partial representation (at least) of what life forms were on the earth in the past so it IS evidence yes?

    You (and all Darwinists) continue to advance the argument, but you offer no evidence to support it. That is because there is no evidence to support it. Thousands of people are reading our discussion, and many of them are Darwinists. Do you think they would allow me to get away with my claim if they could refute it?

    I doubt whether that many Darwinists are reading what we write. And very, very few of them would bother to comment. And some that might comment have been banned from UD. Most working biologists see ID as a fringe movement which needn’t concern them.

    There is some evidence for [a] uncommon descent and much evidence against it,

    Didn’t you just say (twice) that there was no evidence to support the claim?

    but there is no evidence whatsoever for the claim [b] that naturalistic forces can drive that process through all the taxonomic levels. (Darwin’s General Theory).

    There isn’t any evidence accepted by mainstream science of any other forces around at the times in question. The evidence that ID holds up is the same as what the Darwinists use but with a different interpretation. So, if there’s no evidence for the Darwinists there’s no evidence for the ID community either.

  142. UBP (137):

    Jerad, sorry that my 136 sounds so inenvitable, but it simply is what it is.

    You have few options.

    Don’t be sorry, you are speaking the truth as you see it. I don’t have to like it or agree with you but you should never apologise for being honest.

  143. 143

    Jerad,

    The question you have is; what to do with the material evidence, if not deny or ignore it?

  144. I wrote: “There is some evidence for [a] uncommon descent and much evidence against it, but there is no evidence whatsoever for the claim [b] that naturalistic forces can drive that process through all the taxonomic levels. (Darwin’s General Theory).”

    Referring to [a], Jerad asks:

    Didn’t you just say that there was no evidence to support that claim

    No, Jerad. [a] is a qualified affirmation and [b] is an unqualified negation.

    Try to read more carefully (making sure that you don’t apply the negation contained in [b] to the affirmation contained in [a]).

    Try to think more clearly (learning the difference between common descent and the mechanism that drives it).

    Try to argue more persuasively (differentiating between an argument and the evidence that supports it).

  145. Eric @#140,

    This course relates 100% to human-made design, not to Big-ID – Intelligent Design Theory, right?

    If so, good to see you contemplating the social importance of human-made design studies!

    Unfortunately, the relevance you opine of “very straight-forward, everyday, common-sense use of the word ‘design’” with OoL, OoBI and human origins is still not clear. It seems to me that you are simply wrong if you are suggesting MOST PEOPLE think OoL, OoBI and human origins when they hear/read/use the term ‘design.’ Your MOST PEOPLE must be drastically different than my MOST PEOPLE *if* you contend otherwise (which we don’t yet know).

    A legitimate category difference between Big-ID/ID Theory and the vast majority of ‘design theories,’ i.e. the way MOST PEOPLE use the concept of ‘design’ still remains until proven otherwise.

    You have not solved this problem for IDT, nor has Dembski, Behe, Johnson, Nelson and especially not Meyer. Instead, it looks like a paper-over (whitewash) approach is preferred.

    My apology, Eric, that this is obviously quite a different challenge than you are accustomed to facing in U.S. discussions of ID Theory thus far. It happens to be at the root of a serious alternative to IDT, which requires honest consideration of neo-id thinking.

    If you’d like to discuss this, I’m here for the moment.
    - Gr.

  146. Re4 your post #2, kairosfocus, it has occurred to me that empirical science was an ‘elephant in the living-room’ of unimaginably significant proportions, at the recent synod of bishops, further to the Christian churches’ need to renew its vision for spreading the Gospel. The Catholic church, itself, has been ‘on the back foot’ ever since the condemnation of Galileo, a particularly ardent son of the Church until his dying breath.

    The point is, the authority of Pope Benedict, backed by his Papal Academy of Sciences, would speak to the whole of mankind on this issue with enormous authority, both vis-a-vis the people and vis-a-vis the academic and professional community.

    Now, I’m not talking about evangelising or proselytising, as such, nor even about science, as such; but about the primordial necessity for intellectuals to follow the empirically-proven truth wherever it leads: to refuse to accede to the unimpeachable logic of an argument, inferred from a sound premise, is to all together abnegate one’s responsibility, nay, one’s very accreditation as a scientist, so that the theoretical scientist now ends up clinging to endlessly discredited, totally gratuitous flights of fancy.

    Science cannot be left in the hands of a professional establishment, a ‘lost tribe’, who mistake the paradoxes and mysteries of physics for ‘unicorns’, ‘pink pixies’, etc, since established physics has now, on a number fronts, verified the true, primordially theistic vision of the universe in all its scope and complexity, with which the truth of all scientific endeavour in good faith is continuous; something evidently understood by the giants of physics of the 20th century, whose quantum paradigm is not only the most successful paradigm, but has, in fact, been proved to be the final one.

    How can it be that 80 years after Max Planck spoke about a mysterious force that could only be God, holding an atom together, the current Establishment’s paranoid, ‘leading lights’ of scientific theory can cling to such an insane belief as materialism, in the teeth, moreover, of endlessly discredited experimentation. (I can’t see the Pope speaking in this vein, nevertheless…)

    ‘There is no matter as such. All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force which brings the particle of an atom to vibration and holds this most minute solar system of the atom together. We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent mind. This mind is the matrix of all matter.’ -Max Planck

    Yet the theistic assumptions of such men as Planck, Bohr and Godel is now routinely mocked by the myrmidons of the corporate laboratories and corporate-funded university faculties. Einstein was a deist, who, as a panentheist, also was certain that the world was intelligently designed and created by a Spirit of such qualities that one could only conceive of it as God.

    Theistic truth and scientific truth are one; they form a continuum. If the evidence is open to dispute – which it isn’t – there is no evidence even of any effort, futile though it would be, to dispute it. Instead, the paranoid atheist establishment clings to its little stuffed unicorns and pink pixies, etc. wall-to-wall fantasies, while simply ignoring the empirically-attested findings of legitmate science.

    The materialists’ risible usage of the word, ‘counter-intuitive’ for ‘counter-rational’, is just one example of how one flight from truth can be seminal in the creation of error, leading to an epidemic of falsehoods, as obtains today.

    To criticise the materialist’s grasp of science is to focus on the symptom, rather than the disease, which, in fact, lies in their fear of reason, and the knowledge to which logic must eventually lead them.

  147. It is not even a philosophical conflict, but a war of integrity against cynicism.

  148. and fear.

  149. Axel, some thoughtful remarks; thanks. Later. KF

  150. [I apologize in advance for the tone, but this insistence that ID does not apply to human design or is some kind of sociological construct is getting a bit old.]

    —–

    As something that might be interesting to those on this site I linked to two courses of interest, one on cryptography, one called Design: Creation of Artifacts in Society.

    Gregory uses the opportunity to continue to push what he thinks is a critical category difference between ID and design by humans. And this category difference, he thinks, is a “problem” for ID and makes it into some kind of sociological construct.

    This course relates 100% to human-made design, not to Big-ID – Intelligent Design Theory, right?

    If so, good to see you contemplating the social importance of human-made design studies!

    I have already clearly stated that I think it would do us all good to learn more about design strategies and principles. Further, most of us who are interested in ID have a genuine interest in design generally. Thus, I think a class like the one I linked to would be of value and of interest. Sorry, Gregory, there is nothing here to try and trip me up on.

    A legitimate category difference between Big-ID/ID Theory and the vast majority of ‘design theories,’ i.e. the way MOST PEOPLE use the concept of ‘design’ still remains until proven otherwise.

    Because you say so? How about instead we say that ID applies across the board until proven otherwise.

    Yes, yes, I know you are very focused on your ‘captial’ Big-ID. I don’t give a hoot about whatever sociological impression you claim most folks have when they hear about ID. I haven’t done a survey and neither have you. Regardless, and more importantly, people’s impressions about the implications of ID are different from the underlying claims of ID.

    It is true, of course, that ID has received most of its press as being a challenge to the idea of the universe and life arising from purely natural processes. So in that sense when people hear about “intelligent design” of course they are going to think that the primary impact is in the area of the origin of the universe, life and so on. So what? The fact that ID applies there does not mean that it does not apply elsewhere. The principles of design detection are applicable across the board. If you are unable or unwilling to acknowledge this, then we probably don’t have any further need to spend our time discussing it.

    I am interested in the central, basic claims of ID. And those claims have to do with design detection, period. Nothing to do with sociology, or God, or your Big whatever. The prominent proponents of ID have been very clear on this point from the outset. And there is also a logical distinction between detecting design and the subsequent implications of that detection. So I have absolutely no reason to accept your assertion that there is some fundamental difference between human design and the kind of design ID is talking about.

    My apology, Eric, that this is obviously quite a different challenge than you are accustomed to facing in U.S. discussions of ID Theory thus far. It happens to be at the root of a serious alternative to IDT, which requires honest consideration of neo-id thinking.

    Actually, you haven’t presented any challenge yet. Just an attempt to redefine ID in a way that is different from what the leading ID proponents have been saying for decades. That is fine, you are welcome to try and come up with some alternate definition that you think is helpful. But don’t expect me or anyone else to jump on board.

    —–

    Now, Gregory, if your whole point is that lots of lay people think ID just relates to the origin of the universe, life and so on, fine. I won’t dispute that. And if your point is that ID theorists could do a better job of explaining its central claims and showing how they apply across the board, well, I’m sure a better job could be done. We can agree to that level. But if you are arguing, as you seem to be, that ID itself — its underlying questions and claims — is only applicable to the origin of the universe and life, has no relevance to human design, and is but a sociological construct, then I’m afraid I have to strongly disagree, as that is simply not the case.

    —–

    BTW, out of genuine curiosity, what is this serious alternative to ID you have in mind? I presume you’re not referring to the Universal Design website you linked to?

  151. 151

    Eric,

    Gregory’s conception of design fails at the material level where ID is concerned, particularly in regards to biological information. As has been shown, biological information, man-made language, animal communication, machine code, and all other forms of information have precisely the same material basis. The big distinction which he wishes to force upon the material evidence simply does not exist.

    He refuses to ackowledge this.

    He feels that only a human can record information in matter. This view leaves the transfer of information by any other living thing a process which must (by his definition) use some medium other than matter. Perhaps he envisions the use of ether or something else?

    When pressed on these lingering issue of material fact, he claims that ID proponents dehumanize humanity.

    Go figure.

  152. Eric,

    The tone doesn’t bother me, only the failure to listen and to answer direct questions.

    “I don’t give a hoot about whatever sociological impression you claim most folks have when they hear about ID.” – Eric

    Well, I spoke about people using the term ‘design’ and you jumped immediately to ‘ID.’ There’s a noteworthy difference between ‘design’ and Intelligent Design Theory(ID) that you’re trying hard for whatever reason to conflate.

    In case this helps:
    Topic 1) design theory (repeat: I was recently at a major international conference with 1400 people on THIS topic, not the following);
    Topic 2) Intelligent Design Theory.

    At odds of 1400-to-1, should we believe Eric Anderson’s ‘no difference’ aka ‘let’s conflate them’ opinion?

    For the 3rd time: Can you please confirm or deny that you are suggesting the “very straight-forward, everyday, common-sense use of the word ‘design’” is about OoL, OoBI or human origins? It’s a simple yes or no question.

    Please read #131 for what you initiated regarding ‘design’ as a ‘sociological construct.’ This was your appeal to the “very straight-forward, everyday, common-sense use of the word ‘design’.” That is a sociological contention, one I don’t think you can give evidence for because I don’t think it’s true. Because you got called out on your make-believe IDist assumption (about what MOST PEOPLE think when they hear the term ‘design’), now there’s tension between us. So be it.

    And this would be very, very, very easy to TEST. Simply walk out on the street, no context or prompting involved, and ask people a question: What do you think about when you hear the word ‘design’? Would you seriously bet your house that in response to this question more than a very small minority think about OoL, OoBI and/or human origins?! If so, perhaps your neighbourhood is a vastly different society than mine.

    ID leaders mean OoL, OoBI (and most recently) human origins when they say ID. Just look at the images on the cover of ID books, if you are unconvinced. Theme alert! Why try to pretend ‘human design’ is part of ID leaders’ main focus, as if ‘designers’ *can* be studied when ID leaders clearly say they can’t?

    There is no conspiracy here, Eric, and no negative tone. Just a message from someone who has studied Intelligent Design Theory both from inside (e.g. I attended the DI’s intensive Summer Program for students in Seattle) and outside the IDM for over a decade and who has published about Intelligent Design more than anyone posting on UD.

    What is at stake here is stopping the potentially damaging exaggeration of an idea (‘design’) from one realm into another (and note, Eric, I already mentioned an even hand here with the notion of ‘evolution’). Michel Foucault once wrote: “Look everywhere for power, you will find it.” Now ID people are exclaiming: “Look everywhere for design/Design, you will find it.” That’s what “design detection, period” means according to the IDM, which you are repeating to me as if I should swallow it, Eric.

    But what are the theoretical limits of ‘Intelligent Design’ if a person (as I am) is a theist? It is the same question I ask to ‘theistic evolutionists’ – what are examples of things that don’t evolve? – because they have quite obviously tied ‘evolution’ too tightly with their theologies. I am a scholar and am likewise not biting on ‘design’ turned into ‘Design!’

    Please hear with your heart that it is far from just me who sees a category difference “between ID and design by humans.” Why are you unwilling to acknowledge this?!

    “How about instead we say that ID applies across the board until proven otherwise.” – Eric

    Well, Eric, obviously that’s the end of the conversation. Since sin, rape, hate and the Holocaust were all ‘Intelligently Designed’ – I want no part of that definition of ID!

    Do you not see more clearly now the leap in logic IDT must make if it were to follow the lead as you have suggested it here?

  153. UB,

    “only a human can record information in matter”

    That’s an interesting way to suggest it.

    As a person who believes human beings differ in KIND, rather than just in DEGREE from (other) animals and machines, you might be surprised where we agree.

    The rest of your claim has no anchor in reality and the ‘informationism’ rampant in IDism is duly noted.

    Well ahead of you,
    - Turtle Gr.

  154. “BTW, out of genuine curiosity, what is this serious alternative to ID you have in mind? I presume you’re not referring to the Universal Design website you linked to?” – Eric

    No, I’m not. That was just an interesting recent acquaintance. Eric, the serious alternative has been called ‘neo-id’ but has another more important name that clearly distinguishes it from the ‘designism’ of the IDM.

    If you follow the links on my name, it won’t be hard to find. Extend yourself! Just yesterday I added a paper recently published that challenges evolutionary theory in a way that George Gilder and the IDM don’t (yet) recognise.

    Look at “how people make use of evolution…and question if at times its meaning is exaggerated.”

    Please hear with your heart what an opponent is and what a friend might be. Painting me with an ‘enemy’ brush just because I studied carefully and reject IDT won’t lead to a peaceful solution.

  155. 155

    Gregory,

    As a desirous self-promoter, if you were well ahead of me you wouldn’t have so eagerly scoffed at the fact that all living things must record and transfer information in matter. Further, you wouldn’t have to run from integrating the implications of this observation into your sales pitch. Nor would you present a ‘difference in kind’ as a relevant distinction.

  156. Upright Biped,

    No idea what a ‘desirous self-promoter’ is.

    As someone who can’t see beyond the notion of ‘Intelligent Design’ (Big-ID) and who thus needs to hide themselves (pseudonymously) because of it, that is an understandable position for you to take.

    My ‘sales pitch’ doesn’t need the term ‘design.’

    I’ve graduated from that narrow “very limited inquiry” IDM position. Maybe you should follow that fruitful pathway too.

    Gregory

  157. 157

    Gregory,

    I am not the one forced to jump from one subject to another while I ignore material evidence. Nor, when speaking of you, am I forced to invent the basis of my comments.

    At least you have the good sense not to take on the evidence on its front.

    If you ever feel otherwise, I am right here.

  158. Evidence for ‘design’ is plenty (1400 recently sighted!). But not (natural scientific, read: naturalistic) evidence for ‘Intelligent Design’ Theory. Big difference, splinter the ‘wedge’ with human-made vs. non-human-made. Score!

    “I am right here.” – Upright Biped

    Where are you, again? Behind a pseudonym at Uncommon Descent and nowhere else? Do tell if otherwise.

    I did that. Discovery Institute suggested it, but I’d already done it. Again, well ahead of you.

  159. Gregory @152, 154:

    In case this helps:
    Topic 1) design theory (repeat: I was recently at a major international conference with 1400 people on THIS topic, not the following);
    Topic 2) Intelligent Design Theory.

    At odds of 1400-to-1, should we believe Eric Anderson’s ‘no difference’ aka ‘let’s conflate them’ opinion?

    Please don’t misrepresent what I said. I have never said that intelligent design covers all aspects of design and that it answers or even attempts to address all aspects of design. Indeed, I was quite clear that ID theory addresses only a very limited aspect of design, namely the initial design inference.

    What I have said is that ID is applicable across fields (remember, we were talking about things like SETI, archaeology, etc.). ID deals with a very basic question of design detection. That aspect is applicable whether we are talking about human design, aliens, some life-force, whatever. And it is applicable across different technologies and fields.

    It doesn’t matter whether 1400 people showed up at a design conference or 14 million. That is wonderful. As I said, it sounds like a neat conference. The fact that the people in attendance were talking about design in a more general sense, the fact that intelligent design did not come up during the conference, has nothing whatsoever to do with the question of whether ID is applicable to human design or technology.

    Let’s cut to the chase and make this very simple:

    ID asks the following question: Is it possible to detect whether something was designed, even if we do not have direct knowledge about its historical origin?

    What aspect of this straight-forward question do you think is inapplicable to human design, or SETI, or archaeology, or any other kind of designed system? What aspect of this question is limited to OOL or origin of the universe? You still have not provided any basis for your statement that the design inference doesn’t apply broadly — other than pointing out that if we talk to people on the street they tend to think about OOL-and-such when they hear the term “intelligent design.”

    Look, I agree that when most people hear the term “intelligent design” they think about the origin of the universe and the origin and development of life. That is natural, as that is the area that has received the most attention, and is the area of application of the design inference that is the most interesting for lots of people. This is not a failing of ID. This is not a “problem” for ID, contra your suggestion. And it certainly doesn’t mean that the design inference is inapplicable to objects and systems designed by humans.

    —–

    I think it is great that you are aware of public perception. I also applaud your efforts to put forth a new theory that extends things further; I’ll click on your name and check it out. Let me also be clear that I have no reason to view you as an enemy, and have never viewed you as such.

  160. Gregory:

    Gregory, Ph.D. (title written to follow the appeals to authority in Melissa’s Blog cited)

    There were no appeals to authority in her blog. So there’s some other agenda at work here, one in which fact don’t appear to matter.

  161. 161

    Gregory,

    Big difference, splinter the ‘wedge’ with human-made vs. non-human-made. Score!

    Again, your human-made vs non-human-made demarcation is false at the material level. The transfer of any instance of recorded information, regardless of its source or function, demonstrates that the same (sufficient and necessary) material conditions have been placed on matter. You are unable to refute this observation.

  162. “any instance of recorded information, regardless of its source or function” – UB

    WHO or WHAT is ‘recording’ the so-called ‘information’?

    Score!

    I am speaking beyond the ‘material level,’ UB. Aren’t you trying to do the same?

  163. 163

    Gregory,

    WHO or WHAT is ‘recording’ the so-called ‘information’?

    The organism transferring that information. Otherwise, it could not be transferred.

    I am speaking beyond the ‘material level,’ UB. Aren’t you trying to do the same?

    Not particularly. It is an analysis of a material system. The observations are appropriate to the subject under review.

    Score!

    If you are going to attempt to refute the argument I’ve alluded to, you will lose that contest. Feel free to place your silly remarks wherever they might provide you some relief.

  164. And the number one myth about intelligent design is?

    ID has been refuted.

  165. And the number two myth about intelligent design is?

    ID can’t be refuted.

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