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Design, Teleology and Omega Watches

The Omega watch company’s co-axial chronometer  is billed as the most precise mechanical device in the world.  In their video ad featured here, the images associate the intricate design of the cosmos with the design of the watch…a classic teleological argument.  The implication seems to be that the intricate, superb design of the watch is equal to that of the Cosmos itself.  But if you’re a philosophical naturalist, as nearly every ID critic is, then you accept that the watch requires an intelligent design, the forces of matter and energy interacting over eons of time through chance and/or necessity not being adequate to explain a watch.  However, that same ID critic accepts that the Cosmos, and everything in it, which is far more intricate in its design, is, in fact, the end result of the blind, purposeless forces of matter and energy interacting over eons of time through chance and/or necessity.  So why does the one require a designer and the other does not…scientifically speaking?  Put another way, how do we know scientifically that the properties of the Cosmos are such that any apparent design we observe in natural systems can not be actual design, even in principle? Philosophical, metaphysical and/or theological speculations need not apply.

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47 Responses to Design, Teleology and Omega Watches

  1. I would state the argument slightly differently. We know the Omega watch exists. Anyone who admits that the Omega watch needs any intelligent design at all should be a believer in Intelligent Design.

    I like to put it this way.

    Evolution ( uppercase E ) is the belief that everything in the world evolved by blind chance.
    evolution ( lowercase e ) is the belief that some things evolve over time by blind chance.

    Intelligent Design ( uppercase ID ) is the belief that the universe was created by a Designer (uppercase D ).

    intelligent design ( lowercase id ) is the belief that some things in the universe ( like the Omega watch ) were created by a designer.

    The interesting thing is that if you are truly honest.

    ID being true allows both e, and id to take place.

    E being true disallows id and only allows e.

    So if E is true, the Omega watch was made by pure chance.

  2. JDH – Exactly my point! Well put!

  3. I suspect that, like an uncle of mine, when I asked him questions, they would answer: ‘Because’……

    Nurturing a spirit of enquiry in the young didn’t seem to be a pressing priority of his. Naturalists however, would simply stop at, ‘Because’, for want of any idea as to how to answer the question.

  4. notes of interest:

    The precision of the expansion of 4-D space-time itself is found to be to at least 1 in 10^120:

    Hugh Ross PhD. – Scientific Evidence For Cosmological Constant (Expansion Of The Universe)
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4347218/

    That number (1 in 10^120) is so precise that it made some atheists remark,,,

    Disturbing Implications of a Cosmological Constant – Dyson, Kleban, Susskind (each are self proclaimed atheists) – 2002
    Excerpt: “Arranging the universe as we think it is arranged would have required a miracle.,,,”
    “A external agent [external to time and space] intervened in cosmic history for reasons of its own.,,,”
    Page 21 “The only reasonable conclusion is that we don’t live in a universe with a true cosmological constant”.
    http://arxiv.org/pdf/hep-th/0208013.pdf

    But of course the atheists were shown to be wrong, and we now know that we are indeed dealing with a ‘true cosmological constant’:

    Time Asymmetry: Time’s Quantum Arrow Has a Preferred Direction, New Analysis Shows – (Nov. 19, 2012) —
    Excerpt: Time marches relentlessly forward for you and me; watch a movie in reverse, and you’ll quickly see something is amiss. But from the point of view of a single, isolated particle, the passage of time looks the same in either direction. For instance, a movie of two particles scattering off of each other would look just as sensible in reverse — a concept known as time reversal symmetry.Digging through nearly 10 years of data from billions of particle collisions, researchers found that certain particle types change into one another much more often in one way than they do in the other, a violation of time reversal symmetry and confirmation that some subatomic processes have a preferred direction of time. Now the BaBar experiment at the Department of Energy’s (DOE) SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory has made the first direct observation of a long-theorized exception to this rule.
    Reported this week in the journal Physical Review Letters, the results are impressively robust, with a 1 in 10 tredecillion (10^43) or 14-sigma level of certainty — far more than needed to declare a discovery.
    “It was exciting to design an experimental analysis that enabled us to observe, directly and unambiguously, the asymmetrical nature of time,”
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....094627.htm

    Here are the verses in the Bible that Dr. Ross listed, which were written well over 2000 years before the discovery of the finely tuned expansion of the 4-D space-time of the universe by ‘Dark Energy’, that speak of God ‘Stretching out the Heavens’; Job 9:8; Isaiah 40:22; Isaiah 44:24; Isaiah 48:13; Zechariah 12:1; Psalm 104:2; Isaiah 42:5; Isaiah 45:12; Isaiah 51:13; Jeremiah 51:15; Jeremiah 10:12. The following verse is my favorite out of those group of verses:

    Job 9:8
    He alone stretches out the heavens and treads on the waves of the sea.

    Moreover our best man-made precision for keeping time is:

    Precision measurement of an atomic transition – December 6, 2012
    Excerpt: Today’s global positioning system (GPS) relies on rubidium and cesium atomic clocks aboard satellites. These clocks (are) precise to about one second per 30,000 years,,,. Currently, the most accurate clock in the world is located at NIST in the lab of 2012 Nobel Prize recipient David Wineland. He uses quantum logic and an atomic ion to make a clock that is off by only one second over about 4 billion years.,,, (or 1 in 10^17)
    http://phys.org/news/2012-12-p.....ition.html

    Of note: the most precise man-made machine is the 1 in 10^22 – gravity wave detector (per Hugh Ross).

    Moreover time, as we understand it, would come to a complete stop at the speed of light. To grasp the whole ‘time coming to a complete stop at the speed of light’ concept a little more easily, imagine moving away from the face of a clock at the speed of light. Would not the hands on the clock stay stationary as you moved away from the face of the clock at the speed of light? Moving away from the face of a clock at the speed of light happens to be the same ‘thought experiment’ that gave Einstein his breakthrough insight into e=mc2.

    Albert Einstein – Special Relativity – Insight Into Eternity – ‘thought experiment’ video
    http://www.metacafe.com/w/6545941/

    supplemental notes:

    Surreal Animation Of Time
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JDnt-JnatxY

    Baja California Timelapses – video (speaks a tension between time and timelessness that brings a holiness to mind and eye)
    http://vimeo.com/11892211

    Verse and music:

    Proverbs 11:1
    A false balance is abomination to the LORD: but a just weight is his delight.

    Chicago – Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is? – music
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tBuUUBrC9eQ

  5. excuse me, I posted the wrong link for establishing a ‘true cosmological constant’, this is the correct link for the finding of a ‘true cosmological constant’:

    Dark energy alternatives to Einstein are running out of room – January 9, 2013
    Excerpt: Last month, a group of European astronomers, using a massive radio telescope in Germany, made the most accurate measurement of the proton-to-electron mass ratio ever accomplished and found that there has been no change in the ratio to one part in 10 million at a time when the universe was about half its current age, around 7 billion years ago. When Thompson put this new measurement into his calculations, he found that it excluded almost all of the dark energy models using the commonly expected values or parameters.
    If the parameter space or range of values is equated to a football field, then almost the whole field is out of bounds except for a single 2-inch by 2-inch patch at one corner of the field. In fact, most of the allowed values are not even on the field. “In effect, the dark energy theories have been playing on the wrong field,” Thompson said. “The 2-inch square does contain the area that corresponds to no change in the fundamental constants, (a ‘true cosmological constant’), and that is exactly where Einstein stands.”
    http://phys.org/news/2013-01-d.....-room.html

  6. Axel in #3

    Nurturing a spirit of enquiry in the young didn’t seem to be a pressing priority of his. Naturalists however, would simply stop at, ‘Because’, for want of any idea as to how to answer the question.

    Especially if it must be answered scientifically. Rule out the philosophical/metaphysical/theological speculations and they can’t answer the question. I’m not even sure that an hypothesis can be formulated to allow for scientific testing. Is “the cosmos is a completely closed system of natural cause and effect” even a scientific hypothesis?

  7. It seems the primary objection they could make is they are talking about a chemical process to produce DNA cells, etc where your example is a mechanical device.

    They probably both need a designer, but the mechanisms are different to get from a pile of atoms or metal to a cell or a watch.

  8. Tim Wetherell’s Clockwork universe sculpture features, as a centerpiece, the moon as she goes through her phases,,

    Tim Wetherell’s Clockwork universe sculpture 1/10 scale – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xZ9ID97MdDw

    The sculpture represents the concept of,,

    the clockwork universe compares the universe to a mechanical clock. It continues ticking along, as a perfect machine, with its gears governed by the laws of physics, making every aspect of the machine predictable.

    This idea was very popular among deists[1] during the Enlightenment, when Isaac Newton derived his laws of motion, and showed that alongside the law of universal gravitation, they could explain the behaviour of both terrestrial objects and the solar system.
    per wikipedia

    Of course the clockwork universe is now overthrown by quantum mechanics with the uncertainty principle:

    Why Quantum Physics (Uncertainty) Ends the Free Will Debate – Michio Kaku – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lFLR5vNKiSw

    In fact quantum mechanics has gone much further than ‘uncertainty’ as to undermining a deterministic, clockwork, view of the universe:

    Einstein, a ‘determinist’, was asked (by a philosopher):

    “Can physics demonstrate the existence of ‘the now’ in order to make the notion of ‘now’ into a scientifically valid term?”

    Einstein’s answer was categorical, he said:

    “The experience of ‘the now’ cannot be turned into an object of physical measurement, it can never be a part of physics.”

    Quote was taken from the last few minutes of this following video:
    Stanley L. Jaki: “The Mind and Its Now”
    https://vimeo.com/10588094

    The preceding statement was an interesting statement for Einstein to make since ‘the now of the mind’ has, from many recent experiments in quantum mechanics, undermined Einstein’s General Relativity as to being the absolute frame of reference for reality. Here is one on my favorites. in the following experiment, the claim that past material states determine future conscious choices (determinism) is falsified by the fact that present conscious choices effect past material states:

    Quantum physics mimics spooky action into the past – April 23, 2012
    Excerpt: The authors experimentally realized a “Gedankenexperiment” called “delayed-choice entanglement swapping”, formulated by Asher Peres in the year 2000. Two pairs of entangled photons are produced, and one photon from each pair is sent to a party called Victor. Of the two remaining photons, one photon is sent to the party Alice and one is sent to the party Bob. Victor can now choose between two kinds of measurements. If he decides to measure his two photons in a way such that they are forced to be in an entangled state, then also Alice’s and Bob’s photon pair becomes entangled. If Victor chooses to measure his particles individually, Alice’s and Bob’s photon pair ends up in a separable state. Modern quantum optics technology allowed the team to delay Victor’s choice and measurement with respect to the measurements which Alice and Bob perform on their photons. “We found that whether Alice’s and Bob’s photons are entangled and show quantum correlations or are separable and show classical correlations can be decided after they have been measured”, explains Xiao-song Ma, lead author of the study.
    According to the famous words of Albert Einstein, the effects of quantum entanglement appear as “spooky action at a distance”. The recent experiment has gone one remarkable step further. “Within a naïve classical world view, quantum mechanics can even mimic an influence of future actions on past events”, says Anton Zeilinger.
    http://phys.org/news/2012-04-q.....ction.html

    In other words, if my conscious choices really are just merely the result of whatever state the material particles in my brain happen to be in in the past (deterministic) how in blue blazes are my choices instantaneously effecting the state of material particles into the past?

    i.e. ‘the now of the mind’, contrary to what Einstein had thought possible for experimental physics, according to advances in quantum mechanics, takes precedence over past events in time. Moreover, due to advances in quantum mechanics, it would now be much more appropriate to phrase Einstein’s answer to the philosopher in this way:

    “It is impossible for the experience of ‘the now’ to be divorced from physical measurement, it will always be a part of physics.”

    I would like to draw one more think out of ‘the clockwork universe’ sculpture. The moon, which is the centerpiece of the sculpture, is very fitting in its center place in the sculpture since the moon was instrumental in many scientific discoveries. The most notable scientific discovery the moon was instrumental in helping confirm was the confirmation of Einstein’s general theory of relativity,,

    Privileged Planet – Observability Correlation – Gonzalez and Richards – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/5424431

    The very conditions that make Earth hospitable to intelligent life also make it well suited to viewing and analyzing the universe as a whole.
    – Jay Richards

    The Privileged Planet – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JnWyPIzTOTw

    But I would like to go even further back than the establishment of 4-D space-time of General Relativity by the moon. ,, It turns out that the moon was the centerpiece of time keeping in many ancient cultures. Particularly, the Hebrews used a lunar calender to celebrate the Old Testament Jewish Holy days,,. But it may surprise some to learn that the biblical ‘prophetic’ calender is more accurate than our modern day ‘scientific’ calender. The Gregorian calender uses a fairly complex system of leap days to keep accuracy with the sun, whereas, on a whole consideration, the prophetic calender uses a simpler system of leap months to keep accuracy to the sun. When these two systems are compared against each other, side by side, the prophetic calender equals the Gregorian in accuracy at first approximation, and on in-depth analysis for extremely long periods of time (even to the limits for how precisely we can measure time altogether) the prophetic calender exceeds the Gregorian calender. i.e. God’s measure of time exceeds the best efforts of Man to scientifically measure time accurately.,, But why am I surprised about this? :) For those who don’t think this is true, here is a site where the math is laid out:

    Bible Prophecy Year of 360 Days
    Excerpt: Is the Biblical ‘prophetic’ calender more accurate than our modern calender? Surprisingly yes! Excerpt: The first series of articles will show the 360-day (Prophetic) calendar to be at least as simple and as accurate as is our modern (Gregorian) calendar. In the second part of our discussion we will demonstrate how that the 360-day calendar is perfectly exact (as far as our ‘scientific’ measurements will allow).
    http://www.360calendar.com/

    Trust in God’s Perfect Timing – photo
    http://sphotos.xx.fbcdn.net/hp.....4442_n.jpg

    Verse and music:

    Psalm 104:19
    He made the moon to mark the seasons, and the sun knows when to go down.

    Carrie Underwood with Vince Gill How Great thou Art – Standing Ovation!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pLLMzr3PFgk

  9. Light bursts out of a flying mirror – April 24, 2013
    Excerpt: the physicists managed to carry out a Gedankenexperiment (thought experiment) formulated in 1905 by Albert Einstein stating that the reflection from a mirror moving close to the speed of light could in principle result in bright light pulses in the short wavelength range.,,,
    In stark contrast to a mirror at rest, light reflected from a mirror that is moving is changed in its colour (that is in its wavelength) as the reflected photons gain momentum from the mirror. This process is very similar to a ball that bounces off a racket and thereby accelerates to higher speed. However, instead of moving faster (photons already travel at the speed of light), the reflected light is shifted in its frequency. This phenomenon is very similar to the Dopplereffect observed from an ambulance siren, which sounds higher (louder) or deeper (quieter) depending on whether the ambulance is moving towards or away from the observer. In the experiment, the incredibly high velocity of the electron mirror gave rise to a change in frequency upon reflection from the near infrared to the extreme ultraviolet up to a wavelength of 60 to 80 nanometres.
    http://phys.org/news/2013-04-mirror.html

  10. “Intelligent Design ( uppercase ID ) is the belief that the universe was created by a Designer (uppercase D ).

    intelligent design ( lowercase id ) is the belief that some things in the universe ( like the Omega watch ) were created by a designer.” – JDH

    “JDH – Exactly my point! Well put!” – DonaldM

    Yes, this is the same point that O. Gingerich made in “God’s Universe” (Belnap Press, 2006). I was chastisted, mocked and dismissed at UD for making the same point. Of course, UD does not represent IDM leadership, just the (sometimes fanatical) laity.

    Will IDists chastise, mock and dismiss DonaldM and JDH for making the same point as I did? Not likely. UD-IDists asking people to trust them as if there are *no hypocrites* in the IDM. ;) Just keep silent faced with your double-standards, folks!

    “if you’re a philosophical naturalist, as nearly every ID critic is…” – DonaldM

    Not sure how many ID critics you’ve actually met, but I’ve met intelligent, thoughtful, careful ID critics, people of faith, i.e. Abrahamic religious believers who reject ID without accepting philosophical naturalism. Abrahamists accept lowercase id, which is what JDH means by uppercase ID, but they use mainly a different name than uppercase D ‘Designer.’

    The claim that “some things in the universe were created by (a) designer(s)” is entirely unproblematic and calling it lowercase id is explantorily weak. Who, when, where, why and how questions immediately apply.

    “Philosophical, metaphysical and/or theological speculations need not apply.” – DonaldM

    The uppercase ID game would already be over, in such an impossibly hypothetical case. The explicit desire for natural scientificity on Cosmological origins to prove/infer an uppercase Designer makes uppercase ID a ‘wedge’ against its own credibility.

    “Evolution ( uppercase E ) is the belief that everything in the world evolved by blind chance.” – JDH

    *OR* it is what ‘theistic evolution’ signifies, i.e. Evolution guided by the uppercase C Creator (but not scientifically provable), which is what ‘nearly every IDist rejects.’ They want, no, demand the mantle of ‘scientific’ legitimacy for their uppercase ID quasi-theology/metaphysics. It’s an unrealistic dream, folks.

  11. So is the design of living organisms ID or id?

    To me ID would be a framework, ie a given, from which scientific inquiry flows. Newton understood that this was a designed universe and conducted science accordingly.

    Who, when, where, why and how questions immediately apply.

    So what? That proves the design inference is not a scientific dead-end as obvioulsy it opens up new questions that we will try to answer.

    AND it just so happens that the way to those questions is through the design- that is until we get the designer or an eyewitness.

    So first you determine design and then you try to answer questions about it by studying it and all relevant evidence.

    Anything else I can help you with?

  12. Gregory in #10 writes:

    Not sure how many ID critics you’ve actually met, but I’ve met intelligent, thoughtful, careful ID critics, people of faith, i.e. Abrahamic religious believers who reject ID without accepting philosophical naturalism.

    And so have I. What I had in mind were the vocal ID critics, the ones writing the books and on the blogs and commenting here. Most of that crowd are philosophical naturalists.

    Gregory

    The uppercase ID game would already be over, in such an impossibly hypothetical case. The explicit desire for natural scientificity on Cosmological origins to prove/infer an uppercase Designer makes uppercase ID a ‘wedge’ against its own credibility.

    Not sure why you think its an impossibly hypothetical case. The point of my question, “how do we know scientifically that the properties of the Cosmos are such that any apparent design we observe in natural systems can not be actual design, even in principle”, is to point out that there is NO scientific answer to the question, even with science defined according to naturalism. That makes the premise entirely philosophical and it should be argued as such. Instead, those who come at science from that worldview try to claim that it is all “just science”. I don’t see what hypothetical about any of that. But perhaps I’m not understanding your point properly.

    I do agree with you that the “Who, when, where, why and how” questions are valid points of scientific inquiry. (at least I think that’s what you meant.

    Joe in #11

    To me ID would be a framework, ie a given, from which scientific inquiry flows. Newton understood that this was a designed universe and conducted science accordingly.

    That’s an interesting a valid point. If we take a step back to gain a bigger view picture, it could be argued that demanding that ID meet all the usual requirements of what makes something “scientific” (on the naturalistic view) might be misplaced as it would largely depend on where in the conceptual hierarchy of science ID rightly falls. One notion I’ve had for a while now is that Design itself might be on the same level or perhaps one step above the Uniformity Principle. Saying Nature is designed is of the same cloth as saying Nature is uniform. Perhaps there are two principles that Science requires, the Uniformity Principle being one, and perhaps the Design Principle being the other. Indeed, it might be the case that nature is uniform because nature is designed.

    The interesting thing about the uniformity principle (UP) is that while it is a significant foundational principle of science, by itself, it is not amendable to scientific testing. There is no way to apply the scientific method to test the UP. Indeed, one has to assume the UP to even have a scientific method by which to conduct a test. What scientific results might mean are completely dependent on the UP being true, but the UP itself, detached from any specific hypothesis, theory or law is not testable, falsifiable, is non-predictive…all the things that are often said to exclude ID from being science. But what if Design were on the same level as the UP. If Design is as foundational a principle of science as the UP (or perhaps one level deeper than the UP), then demanding that it meet some of these other criteria might be wholly unjustified. Saying “Nature is Designed” would be merely stating a first principle of science. (which I think is actually the case, and what I think Joe is saying).

  13. “Intelligent Design ( uppercase ID ) is the belief that the universe was created by a Designer (uppercase D ).

    intelligent design ( lowercase id ) is the belief that some things in the universe ( like the Omega watch ) were created by a designer.” – JDH

    Gregory:

    Yes, this is the same point that O. Gingerich made in “God’s Universe” (Belnap Press, 2006). I was chastisted, mocked and dismissed at UD for making the same point.

    On the contrary, Gregory was chastised for making the nitwittish claim that those two paradigms must be set against each other, and that anyone who supports the narrower version is “flip-flopping” when he also alludes to broader version.

    If he had done the requisite reading, Gregory would know that books about uppercase ID (The Evidential Power of Beauty, A Meaningful World, etc) often refer to lowercase ID as further evidence for the validity of their arguments. Rather than become informed on the matter, Gregory cites Owen Gingerich, who himself, appears not to have done the requisite reading.

    Will IDists chastise, mock and dismiss DonaldM and JDH for making the same point as I did? Not likely.

    Obviously, they are not making the same point as Gregory, who cannot reason very well and has no point to make.

  14. “What I had in mind were the vocal ID critics, the ones writing the books and on the blogs and commenting here.” – DonaldM

    I suggest that you elevate in your mind the critics who hold the same worldview as yourself instead of focussing on people that it is easy to disagree with simply because of the worldview they hold.

    Alistair McGrath, Stephen Barr, Owen Gingerich, Ted Davis, Edward Feser, Francis Beckwith, Robin Collins, Steve Fuller, etc. These people – all theists – pose critical challenges to the IDM leadership’s ‘scientific ID theory’ that are much more profound than ‘new atheists’ or ‘vocal ID critics’ on blogs. The former are worth taking seriously and engaging with, especially given that they’ve read ID publications and a couple of them even used to work at the DI, before ultimately rejecting ID theory as far less ‘revolutionary’ than most people at UD still think it is. I’ve made the same point as theirs already and also documented UD’s flip-flopping.

    “they are not making the same point as Gregory” – self-appointed ‘philosopher and communicator’

    JDH and DonaldM are making and accepting (#1 & #2 in this thread) the distinction between uppercase ID and lowercase id (and also uppercase D, but presumably also lowercase d). That is the same point/distinction I have made, along with others. It is a crucial and important distinction to make and acknowledge.

    Not that it will do any good to bring facts up to StephenB’s ‘philosophism,’ but I’ve read “A Meaningful World”. Published by InterVarsity Press, marketed to and almost exclusively read by Christians. It was given at the DI’s Summer Program and is on my shelf here. Chapter 6 is at first provocative (and distortive), then once again boring and repetitive.

    Actually, I met Jonathan Witt. Nice guy. No argument there. But no ‘revolutionary’ and much repetition; most of that has been said before in different clothes. His Big-D ‘Design’ and ‘Designer’ is theological, not natural scientific. His lowercase id is misleading and distortive (e.g. IV Press 2006: p. 64) of what IDism has come to represent. A typical American Protestant Evangelical IDist. God bless them too…and correct them!

    Fr. Thomas Dubay’s “The Evidential Power of Beauty” I have not read, but highly doubt that 1) it offers support for ‘natural scientific ID theory,’ since 2) Fr. Dubay was not a ‘natural scientist,’ and 3) this shows StephenB’s personal Catholicism more than it does anything to refute that ID-naturalism is a dead-end ideology or to overturn the fact that most thoughtful Catholics reject IDism’s claims to natural scientific ‘proof/inference’ of Big-D ‘Design.’

    StephenB (and IDist brethren) will likely respond as usual that I simply *must* be stupid, awkward, angry, unkind, deceptive, etc.; typical false accusations of anyone who rejects his IDism. But here he simply refuses repeatedly to face legitimate challenges to the IDist ideology he has come to invest so much of himself in. He is being subjective, not just objective.

    This is demonstrated by his signature of approval on the ID definitions page, where both he and KF willfully (or ignorantly) equate the distinct signifiers ‘Intelligent Design’ and ‘intelligent design,’ which JDH made special care (and for very good reasons!!) to distinguish and that DonaldM affirmed with “Exactly my point! Well put!”

    If SB and KF are not ‘flip-flopping’ without any given explanation at UD for exactly, explicitly *WHY* they (choose to) use both uppercase ID and lowercase id seemingly interchangeably, then neither does a teeter-totter shift on a fulcrum! StephenB and KF apparently *want* people to equivocate uppercase ID (Intelligent Design) and lowercase id (intelligent design). Why is that?

    Recognising this as their unspoken motive is the only conclusion that makes sense of their persistent resistance to the facts. Why they haven’t yet admitted to flip-flopping when that is obvious to anyone who can read English typeface? Is it unintentional (purposeless, goal-less, ateleological) small d ‘design’?!

    Will anyone at UD scold JDH and DonaldM for making this legitimate distinction? Tribal studies suggest hardcore UDist activists won’t bring themselves to do this. Truth, in this case, is sacrificed to the tribal impulse. Yet perhaps there are some who see through this ideological mirage and would like to expore better options?

    “I do agree with you that the “Who, when, where, why and how” questions are valid points of scientific inquiry.” – DonaldM

    O.k., thanks for the agreement. Could you tell me then why IDM leaders reject this as part of their IDist ideology of trying to study uppercase ID scientifically? In the history of the Abrahamic faiths, a divine uppercase ‘D’ Designer is the proper province of (natural) theology to explore, not natural science.

    “That makes the premise entirely philosophical and it should be argued as such.” – DonaldM

    Yes, I agree that is obvious. HPSS explores this in-depth and in various sciences, including natural and non-natural ones. My training and current work is significantly in HPSS.

    That makes is easy to perceive that there *is* philosophy and theology/worldview in the ‘conceptualisation’ of uppercase ID theory qua theory as it was ‘coined’ by IDM leaders (Thaxton, Meyer, Dembski, Behe, et al.). That is altogether inescapable and they have spoken about this publically (while my memories of Thaxton are private). But for the sake of detachment and neutrality, trying to appear natural scientific (because they falsely call ‘Darwinism’ a ‘scientific theory’), IDM leaders have been deluded by a particularly narrow HPSS that doesn’t do nearly enough to face the bigger challenges they claim to be able and successful at facing. In my view, they have failed.

    Dembski and Meyer, Wells and Nelson, have even become their own worst enemies by insisting on proclaiming a ‘Revolution!’ (in the name of Science) as they have repeatedly done. By acknowledging lowercase id, as JDH has done in this thread, it serves to smart-bomb the simple ‘Wedge’ that IDM-Father P. Johnson propagated. It therefore makes the ‘scientificity’ claims of uppercase ID impossible, only a mirage that thirsty lay IDists would like to believe can quench their mouths and digestive systems. It shows how theology/worldview *is* invested in uppercase ID theory, just as many thoughtful and faithful people have come to realise…and thus to reject the ‘natural science-only’ hyper-claims of IDism.

    And that folks is why I target the splitting of uppercase ID and lowercase id. It makes sense to most people (both theists and non-theists) and it also works as a post-Wedge strategy, which is why some lay activists at UD ‘fight’ (struggle for survival) as hard and cynically and insultingly as they can muster against it. To deny any difference to those two significations (as SB & KF do) is the logical and predictable response of IDists. It doesn’t, nevertheless, change the facts of the reasoning behind their faulty resistance. They then proceed to cry foul (or Expelled Syndrome) that anti-IDists and posts-IDists, including both thoughtful theists and critical non-theists, agree on having seen through the IDM’s attempted ‘wedge’ maneuver.

    JDH and DonaldM – with your uppercase ID / lowercase id distinction: I see you. = )

    Gregory

    p.s. if any would conclude that I have come out of retirement at UD, let that be put to rest now. More important things than IDism are waiting…be welcome to join me and a growing number of others on that quest.

  15. Gregory,

    I hate to disappoint you but you misunderstood my point completely. The point is that ( lowercase id) can not exist without ( uppercase ID).

    Why? Because I believe that it is logically and rationally impossible for RM+NS or any other neo-scheme based on random events + large time to generate ( lowercase id).

    I believe this so firmly that, I am completely convinced that anyone ( no matter what his area of expertise or credential ) who witnesses just two observables:

    1. Empirical observation that we live in a rational universe where the activity of science can be practiced with success.
    2. There exist objects in this world that were obviously designed by intelligence.

    And after admitting the truth of #1 and #2 does not accept (uppercase ID ) is a fool.

  16. JDH,

    Your point is well understood. I’ve studied these things for a decade. I’m not a layman, but a practitioner.

    “The point is that ( lowercase id) can not exist without ( uppercase ID).”

    Let me guess: you are a theist. Right? You are most likely a Protestant (Evangelical) American theist. Right?

    Atheists, agnostics, Buddhists, and others disagree that “lowercase id cannot exist without uppercase ID.” They don’t believe in an uppercase D. It’s therefore a culturally ‘relative’ claim that you’ve made based on worldview, not on ‘natural science.’

    But of course you know or should that uppercase ID theory is (read: claims to be) based on ‘natural science-only.’ uppercase ID has been denied as being properly called a ‘science, philosophy, theology/worldview’ theory, as I’ve suggested here at UD (and as others have claimed elsewhere).

    What you overlook, JDH, is that lowercase id need not depend on or require “RM+NS or any other neo-scheme based on random events.” People untrained in or unaware of (i.e. most IDM leaders) other ‘sciences’ take a particularly dehumanising approach to ‘design,’ such that they overlook the vast array of ‘design theory’ that already exists, instead to promote their religiously apologetic (but insistently denied as such) uppercase ID theory. The human-social sciences have been studying teleological change, plan, purpose, goal, aim, etc. for many decades, without the slightest need for IDism from the IDM. They (IDM leaders) ignore this to their peril.

    “There exist objects in this world that were obviously designed by intelligence.” – JDH

    Yes, of course. That is too obvious to deny. But where is the rub? Is it lowercase ‘intelligence’(human, mundane) or uppercase ‘Intelligence’ (non-human, transcendental), JDH? Human beings are not ‘gods,’ or are we? Or are you thinking more eastern (bogochilovechestvo) than the vast majority of IDM leaders?

    Do you now see how important making the upper/lower distinction is or was it just frivolous for you?

    The final sentence in #15 is incoherent.

    Uppercase ID (Big-D Designer) is a uniquely theological project. It is not the province of natural scientific theory. Most thoughtful theists who have carefully looked at IDism have wisely concluded this. I doubt that the Vatican will make the same mistake in favour of ‘IDism’ twice.

    Is it worth the time to alert you to these (non-fanatical) realities, JDH?

  17. Gregory,

    I don’t care how many people have made a study of human-social sciences. The number of people who believe foolish things does not make it less foolish, it just means there are more fools. Just apply some simple logic.

    1. A rational universe means that effects have causes. The effect may be due to random activity, but each effect must have a cause.
    2. The only exception to this is the prime mover, the causeless cause.
    3. Random activity cannot create non-random activity, all it can create are fluctuations from an equilibrium.
    4. Human intelligence exists.
    5. Human intelligence creates non-random effects that are not simply fluctuations from an equilibrium ( intelligent design lowercase id).
    6. Being rather late to the scene, human intelligence can not be the prime mover.
    7. Human intelligence must have an intelligent ( non-random) cause.
    8. There must be an Intelligent (uppercase I) for human intelligence ( lowercase i ).
    9. The absolutely incredible way that humans exercise human intelligence shows design.
    10. Therefore the only acceptable cause for human intelligence is the Intelligent Designer.
    10. Therefore ( lowercase id) => ( uppercase ID ) . QED.

    Its time Gregory to separate yourself from the fools, and stop being a fool.

  18. By the way, I listened to the YouTube reference. Kept waiting for you to say something relevant to what we are discussing. But alas nothing.

    Your talk assumed human intelligence without even considering a cause for it.

    That is all very good. We can start with assuming intelligence, and then discuss what is the best way of “extending” human culture. This site is not about culture and the best way of “extending” it.

    I believe this site, and Barry can correct me if I am way off, is mostly about in a rational universe how do you account for the design of nature which includes human intelligence.

    Many people on this site believe the only way to account for the cause of lowercase id is uppercase ID. I have yet to see any logical argument that defeats this premise. I have seen lots of logical arguments that support it.

    Once you assume lowercase id – what we decide to do about it is another excellent discussion. However, I think a big problem with lots of the “practitioners” of ethics, morality, and culture is they refuse to acknowledge ID. They look for the “extensions” of culture from within the knowledge of humanity, instead of asking what the purpose of the creator is. That’s why “new” ideas like Marxism fail.

    People like you who believe in this mysterious harmonic synthesis of wonderful ideas that create a new age ( based upon the rather prosaic example of new ways to win the olympic high jump) are part of the problem of this world, not its hope.

    To admit that you were subject to a creator would ruin your freedom to discover some brand new Extensionist utopia. I believe the creator has already expressed the best way. You reject His way and try to come up with your own way. This is why your ideas are foolish and dangerous.

  19. BTW #2 – I understand a little bit about why we have a conflict here. I was not aware that others had made a difference between id and ID.

    My definitions are different.

    id = the acknowledgement that anything at all is purposely designed.

    ID = the acknowledgment that God is the Designer.

    For immediate purposes, my distinctions had nothing to do with whether we can detect design in nature although God has clearly stated so in his Word ( Psalm 19, Psalm 14).

  20. Gregory

    If SB and KF are not ‘flip-flopping’ without any given explanation at UD for exactly, explicitly *WHY* they (choose to) use both uppercase ID and lowercase id seemingly interchangeably, then neither does a teeter-totter shift on a fulcrum!

    KF and I don’t use them interchangeably, but we do often point out the similarities. The point is that big-picture ID as expressed in natural theology (Aquinas, Paley etc) is observation-based and inferential, just as DI’s minimal approach is observation based and inferential; which separates both paradigms from the exclusively faith-based approach used by Gregory, Steve Fuller, Theistic Evolutionts, Darwinists, and Creation Scientists.

    In other words, there are those who accept the role of aposteriori, inferential reasoning as a compatible partner with religious faith, such as the natural theologians and the Discovery Institute, and there are those who reject reason’s role and appeal solely to apriori, religious faith, such as Gregory, Steve Fuller, Theistic Evolutionists (at least in a biological context), Darwinists, and Creation scientists. Put another way, natural theology is the intellectual counterpoise to Fideism.

    “Natural theology is a branch of theology based on reason and ordinary experience. Thus it is distinguished from revealed theology (or revealed religion) which is based on scripture and religious experiences of various kinds; and also from transcendental theology, theology from a priori reasoning.” (Faith and Reason are compatible).
    vs.

    “Fideism is an epistemological theory which maintains that faith is independent of reason, or that reason and faith are hostile to each other and faith is superior at arriving at particular truths The word fideism comes from fides, the Latin word for faith, and literally means “faith-ism.” (Faith and Reason are incompatible).

    These distinctions go all the way back to Justin Martyr (natural theologian and apologist) and Tertullian (who once asked, “What has Athens to do with Jerusalem?”) Gregory is, and chooses to remain, completely ignorant of the historical dimension of this contemporary dispute.

    StephenB and KF apparently *want* people to equivocate uppercase ID (Intelligent Design) and lowercase id (intelligent design). Why is that?

    We don’t want people to equivocate the broad ID picture with the more narrowly-focused approach of the Discovery Institute. We want them to know that both of these approaches are observation based and mutually reinforcing, though each provides something that the other lacks.

    Still, I have every confidence that Gregory will learn nothing from this exchange. When all is said and done, he will continue to insist that all “Abrahamic” believers accepted design “on faith,” even though Romans 1:20, which is the intellectual foundation for Christianity, exhorts the reader to use inferential reasoning to apprehend God’s existence. (“For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.”)

    We don’t need faith to accept God’s existence. The point of faith is to submit to those truths to which reason cannot attain, such as the revealed theological truths of the Bible. The existence of God has already been demonstrated by Aquinas’ broad-based ID, and can be apprehended informally by anyone with an open mind and the capacity to think. That is why Roman’s 1:20, which appeals to the evidence inherent in God’s revelation in nature, finishes with the words, “they are without excuse.” They cannot be excused for denying God’s existence because the gift of faith is not needed in that context.

  21. Hi JDH,

    I thought your list of things you find obvious (you say they come from “simple logic”) was interesting – it seems to summarize a lot of things people believe. I’m no expert in ID (or biology or philosophy for that matter), and I do not believe that evolutionary theory explains biological complexity at all, but a lot of these things you’ve said don’t make sense to me. Here are some comments:

    1. A rational universe means that effects have causes. The effect may be due to random activity, but each effect must have a cause.

    First, I think “random activity” is a difficult concept – unless you qualify it by saying random with respect to something in particular. For example, a change in a DNA molecule that is caused by a cosmic ray is random with respect to the fitness of the organism, but it is not random with respect to the cosmic ray, or the event that produced that cosmic ray, and so on.

    Moreover, do we really have a way of ascertaining that every effect has any sort of cause at all? In particular, some specific quantum phenomena appear to occur without cause.

    2. The only exception to this is the prime mover, the causeless cause.

    You seem to have immediately invalidated your first proposition by imagining an exception! Perhaps a causeless cause exists, or maybe more than one? Aside from turning to particular religious scripture (fine if you’d like to do that, but I would say that would be revealed knowledge rather than “simple logic”), how can we know?

    3. Random activity cannot create non-random activity, all it can create are fluctuations from an equilibrium.

    Again, it isn’t easy to look at any particular phenomenon and say if it is “random” or not – you have to give some context. Quantum phenomena (say, a spontaneous radioactive decay event) may be “purely random”.

    4. Human intelligence exists.

    This seems to be reifying “intelligence” as something that exists per se. In our experience, isn’t intelligence more of a property of living systems, rather than a thing-in-itself? We say humans exhibit intelligence, or that humans are intelligent, but not that our intelligence exists. That would be like saying human beauty exists, or human bravery or love or sadness exists… all these statements are true of course, but only in a manner of speaking. They do not exist per se, but only as properties of people who exhibit and experience these emotions, abilities, etc.

    5. Human intelligence creates non-random effects that are not simply fluctuations from an equilibrium ( intelligent design lowercase id).

    Humans produce effects, including complex designs, yes.

    6. Being rather late to the scene, human intelligence can not be the prime mover.

    I don’t know about a “prime mover” (see above), but I certainly agree that human beings could not have caused the origin of human life… obviously!

    7. Human intelligence must have an intelligent ( non-random) cause.

    Now you seem to be equating “intelligence” with “non-random”? I don’t think those two things mean the same thing at all, since there are all sorts of things we consider non-random (e.g. gravitational effects) that we also do not consider “random”. Some people say intelligent causes are neither random nor determined, but given the difficulty we have identifying and understanding pure randomness, and given that nothing actually seems completely determined (given quantum uncertainty), I think this way of thinking about intelligence gets very muddled quickly. Humans can think ahead and produce plans for things in their heads and solve problems and generate complex designs, but we really don’t understand very much about how we manage to do these things.

    I’ll stop there. My overall point, really, is that these questions are really hard, and there really isn’t any “simple logic” that tells us anything about how living things came to exist – here on Earth or anywhere else!

    Cheers,
    RDFish

  22. RDFish – Thanks for your response. I hope I can do a good job of answering them.

    1. Mathematically random activity is easy to define. Random activity does not have any correlation (i.e. observation of any length of past values does not allow the prediction of the next values.) There are tons of examples. If you flip a fair coin and have had it come up heads 50 times in a row. What are the chances of the next flip being heads? Simple. 50-50. Randomness does not ever speak about a single event. It speaks about an ensemble ( real or theoretical ) of events. Thus your example of a single event of a cosmic ray hitting a molecule in DNA is not relevant. You can’t speak of a single random event. All we can speak of is the random nature of mutations in DNA.

    What specific quantum phenomena appear to occur without a cause? I am not aware of any. In considering quantum phenomena usually there are plenty of statistics. That’s mostly how the investigation of the phenomena is done. Please elaborate.

    2. I have not invalidated my first premise. My first premise is about the current universe. I have merely stated something that is based on my premises. There are only two possibilities for a universe where every event has a cause.

    a) Space-time has always been and has no cause. I admit this is a possibility. But modern cosmology rejects this due to observed data.

    b) Space-time had an origin some finite time ago. Then whatever caused space-time can not have a cause. This is because there was no time before space-time. The prime mover must exist outside of space-time, therefore the prime mover must be eternal. There can’t be a “time” when the prime mover did not exist because he caused time. He must be eternal… or as the prime mover would state it: “Before the world was, I am.”

    To me the question whether space-time has multiple prime movers is not a real question. If a group of prime movers caused space-time, then you just redefine the prime mover to be the group. For instance if 3 then you must have 3 united in a unity of 1.

    3. The point is that anything that is truly random must have no discernible pattern. That’s it. Simple. That does not need a context. The English word, “random” needs context, but the mathematical term “random” does not. If activity has no pattern, then it is random.

    Can we determine if something is random is another question altogether. Suppose I have flipped a coin 80 times and it has come up heads each time. Occam’s razor would say it is more believable that it was not a fair coin, Since the chances of a random set of 80 flips turning out all heads would be 1/2^80 or about 8.271806 *10^-25. but I would not know, it could just be a fluctuation. We can never measure whether any event is entirely random, we can only make an educated guess.

    BUT – blind watchmaker theories of the universe do not attempt to measure randomness. They start with randomness as an assumption. Putting the condition on something that it must be random means it can not produce a pattern of changes… it can not climb mount improbable. It can only produce a fluctuation.

    4. Let me clarify. Humans can make intelligent decisions. These are decisions which are as you state in 7 “neither random or determined”. I hope you will not argue that you don’t know if human actions are intelligent.

    Simple psychological experiment. Ask almost any person to write down without doing the actual experiment 50 flips of a fair coin. The person will invariably try to make it look random, but will fail. Then flip a coin 50 times and record the real results. Give the results to a mathematician and ask him to find which was the real coin flips, and which was the human. He will be able to easily. This is because the patterns of human actions are not random.

    Experiment number 2. Respond to a blog post. The characters you type are definitely not random. And in order for you opinion to matter, not determined.

    In summary, I think you are wrong. These are not hard questions.

    Some questions are hard because they require a lot of prerequisite concepts to be known, and then require a lot of data to be held all at once to see all the relationships involved. ( Like computing all of the Feynman diagrams for some interaction ).

    Some questions are hard because they require a lot of time. Like using only pencil and paper to determine if 234561872781298126123001270167 is prime or not.

    Some questions are called hard because people just do not like the answer. I believe these questions fall under this case. They are “hard” because most people do not like the answers. They don’t want there to be a God. Simple logic applied to the questions says there is a God. So, the question must be called hard so they don’t have to believe in God. Now the question is “hard” because if we assume not God, there is no answer that makes sense. This is not a “God of the Gaps” argument. Simple logic applied to these questions demands that there be a prime mover. People unwilling to believe in God deny the simple logic, and then call the questions “hard”. They really aren’t.

  23. Hi JDH,

    1. Mathematically random activity is easy to define. Random activity does not have any correlation (i.e. observation of any length of past values does not allow the prediction of the next values.) There are tons of examples. If you flip a fair coin and have had it come up heads 50 times in a row. What are the chances of the next flip being heads? Simple. 50-50. Randomness does not ever speak about a single event. It speaks about an ensemble ( real or theoretical ) of events. Thus your example of a single event of a cosmic ray hitting a molecule in DNA is not relevant. You can’t speak of a single random event. All we can speak of is the random nature of mutations in DNA.

    But to say mutations are random has nothing to do with past values predicting future values – it has to do with a lack of correlation between the current needs of an organism and the changes that occur due to mutations. And I think it does makes sense to speak of an individual event within a random ensemble as being random: Every coin flip is a 50-50 chance, and there is no way to tell which will come up next, and so we say that the outcome of every coin flip is random. Still, the fact that the sequence of coin flips is random doesn’t imply that each flip wasn’t determined by physical laws and initial conditions.

    What specific quantum phenomena appear to occur without a cause? I am not aware of any. In considering quantum phenomena usually there are plenty of statistics. That’s mostly how the investigation of the phenomena is done. Please elaborate.

    Right – the laws of quantum physics apply to ensembles, not individual events. The individual events (say a spontaneous decay event) are random – but that doesn’t by itself imply “causeless”. I say they “appear to be without a cause” because QM appears complete and correct without incorporating any cause of these events, but of course we may someday find they are determined by some unknown sort of prior cause too. (We do know that no underlying cause of certain QM events can obey realism and locality, of course)

    2. I have not invalidated my first premise. My first premise is about the current universe. I have merely stated something that is based on my premises. There are only two possibilities for a universe where every event has a cause.
    a) Space-time has always been and has no cause. I admit this is a possibility. But modern cosmology rejects this due to observed data.
    b) Space-time had an origin some finite time ago. Then whatever caused space-time can not have a cause. This is because there was no time before space-time.

    I agree the evidence points to an origin, and that spacetime cannot have been caused in the way we conceptualize causation (as being temporally prior).

    The prime mover must exist outside of space-time, therefore the prime mover must be eternal.

    I’d say how the universe got started is something we probably can’t conceptualize at all. I can’t imagine reality without space and time, so I can’t imagine what it means for something to exist outside of spacetime. Just like we can’t imagine what an electron is – we can describe it mathematically, but it’s not really a “thing” that exists the way we think of things. Even to say “prime mover” involves “moving”, which is all about space and time. Since space and time didn’t exist before the universe, nothing could have moved before then, so how can something that can’t move move anything?

    BUT – blind watchmaker theories of the universe do not attempt to measure randomness. They start with randomness as an assumption. Putting the condition on something that it must be random means it can not produce a pattern of changes… it can not climb mount improbable. It can only produce a fluctuation.

    Like I said, I do not believe that RM&NS could account for biological systems as they exist. However, I don’t think the way you’ve characterized it is quite accurate. Surely mutations can be random with regard to phenotypic adaptive benefit or not. RM&NS says that they are, and that differential reproduction fixes adaptive changes in the population. There can be pattern of changes, as we see in so-called “micro-evolution”. But I think we have good reason to say that biological complexity could not possibly have arisen this way even given more than the age of the universe, so we agree that RM&NS did not climb mount improbable.

    4. Let me clarify. Humans can make intelligent decisions. These are decisions which are as you state in 7 “neither random or determined”. I hope you will not argue that you don’t know if human actions are intelligent.

    Human actions are intelligent. In fact, it seems to me that “intelligent” is co-referential with “living”: All living things are intelligent, and all intelligent things are living (in our “uniform and repeated experience”, anyway).

    I do not believe we have good reason to say that intelligent behaviors are “neither random nor determined”. We don’t really know very much about how intelligent behaviors are produced.

    Simple psychological experiment. Ask almost any person to write down without doing the actual experiment 50 flips of a fair coin. The person will invariably try to make it look random, but will fail. Then flip a coin 50 times and record the real results. Give the results to a mathematician and ask him to find which was the real coin flips, and which was the human. He will be able to easily. This is because the patterns of human actions are not random.

    Actually, I think this is because people don’t have a very good intuitive understanding of probabilities. For example, Apple had to tweak its “random shuffle” on the iPod to make it non-random, because people didn’t think it was random if it repeated songs sometimes! There are all kinds of probabilities that we naturally get wrong, including the gambler’s fallacy. But yes, I agree that human behavior isn’t random, obviously. We couldn’t walk down the street if it was :-)

    Experiment number 2. Respond to a blog post. The characters you type are definitely not random. And in order for you opinion to matter, not determined.

    I don’t see why my opinion would be any less important if physical determinism was true. Nothing would change in that case, really. You know the old joke:

    WAITER: What would you like to order, sir?
    PHILOSOPHER: I’m a determinist. Let’s just wait and see what happens!

    In summary, I think you are wrong. These are not hard questions.

    Ok, we disagree. I think they are really hard and I’m sure I don’t know the answers, and I’m pretty sure nobody else does either.

    They are “hard” because most people do not like the answers. They don’t want there to be a God.

    Well, that’s not me. I think it would be fantastic to find out about some conscious being outside of Earth, even outside of the universe (whatever that means). I even enjoy thinking about “the simulation hypothesis”, because it seems to tie up a bunch of weirdness in physics. But I don’t believe in the simulation hypothesis, nor other speculations about origins and the nature of reality. Some of it we may learn more about as time goes on, but some of it may just be beyond our ability to understand (or even be non-understandable in principle). I certainly think my puny mind isn’t up to understanding it!

    Cheers,
    RDFish

  24. The irony compounds. The pseudonymous poster ‘StephenB’ has taken a risk, apparently expecting a reward. Otoh, he has finally owned up to his (and KF’s) flip-flopping:

    “KF and I don’t use them interchangeably, but we do often point out the similarities.”

    Really? Where on the ID Resources pages do you “point out the similarities” between uppercase ID and lowercase id? Send a link and point this out specifically please. I’ve taken flack for this, as if it is a meaningless distinction, yet it is a distinction you now concede is meaningful (even while faking the ‘similarities’ and disguising the ‘differences’).

    All that is present on the ID definitions pages so far is equivocation without any explanation. This is a first for you to actually face the id/ID flip-flopping. Anyone with an elementary school-reading level can observe this happening still.

    Otoh, StephenB then invents a new term: “big-picture ID.” Sure, he doesn’t offer a spelled-out definition of it, but does seem to associate it with natural theology. StephenB desperately doesn’t want to be seen as a ‘fideist;’ he wants to be known as a ‘natural theologian.’ His enemies are therefore necessarily all deemed fideists. Let’s now face this mud-slinging accusation.

    What StephenB doesn’t seem to realise is that already this destroys the common myth that uppercase ID is purely (i.e. only) a natural scientific theory. Take a pause and digest this, UD folks! Anyone who has paid attention to the IDM over the years knows full well that uppercase ID is not *solely* a ‘natural scientific theory.’ And this requires nothing to do with ‘fideism’ or ‘natural theology’ to recognise this.

    Unlike JDH’s half-way (pro-IDist) definition, more intelligent distinctions suggest that ‘uppercase ID’ signifies the yearning for scientific legitimacy among IDM leaders. They *want* to be thought of as ‘scientific revolutionaries’! Just as Dembski et al. consider ‘Darwinism’ exclusively a natural scientific theory, they consider uppercase ID exclusively a natural scientific theory. They are *still* not willing to portray uppercase ID as properly a science, philosophy, theology/worldview topic, as if they think they can trick the public with smoke and mirrors. Why not just openly admit that it is what it is?

    “We [KF and SB] don’t want people to equivocate the broad ID picture [another slightly different term from ‘big-picture ID’] with the more narrowly-focused approach of the Discovery Institute. We want them to know that both of these approaches are observation based and mutually reinforcing, though each provides something that the other lacks.”

    I’ll gladly trade him an eye (‘observation based’) for an ear (hearing) and heart (feeling)! StephenB needs the Discovery Institute; he cannot pose as a meaningful internet commenter without it. This is because he has no independent ‘theory’ of his own to offer without Thaxton, Meyer, Behe, Dembski, West, Johnson, Chapman, et al. StephenB’s novel (in this thread) notion of ‘big-picture ID’ and ‘narrower DI-ID’ is completely unoriginal. It depends wholly on others, not on anything he has contributed to the discourse. Iow, ‘they’ are not ‘mutually reinforcing,’ but rather ‘mutually exclusive’ (*only* scientific vs. science, philosophy, theology/worldview inclusive) and StephenB’s Catholic brothers and sisters have already understood this. When will he accept this (non-ex-cathedra) interpretation?

    Regarding the so-called “exclusively faith-based approach,” as StephenB calls it; he is engaged in fantastic dreaming. Reality differs so much from StephenB’s fanciful imagination that he actually has the gall to put Fuller, Theistic Evolutionists (who Fuller is unequivocally opposed to) and Creation Scientists in the same grouping!!

    An error of such magnitude reveals how ad hoc and untrustworthy most of StephenB’s claims are when looked at from a higher, more informed vantage point. StephenB likely hasn’t read (much if any of) Fuller. And as a self-proclaimed ‘philosopher-communicator’ graduate (perhaps from South Dakota?) he just simply isn’t at the level to understand Fuller anyway.

    Looking at Meyer vs. Fuller at Cambridge last summer shows the depth and breadth of Fuller compared to Meyer’s narrow and unnecessary regurgitation. For whatever reason, StephenB still prefers narrow and insignificant instead of broad and impactful.

    “there are those who reject reason’s role and appeal solely to apriori, religious faith”

    Honestly, StephenB, what rock are you hiding under to express such views? Fuller is not ‘rejecting reason’s role,’ and neither am I. Are you writing such absurdities purposefully?

    “We don’t need faith to accept God’s existence.”

    Really? As a Catholic, StephenB, why not go tell that to your priest-confessor this week? Then you can come back to us after you’ve done this and if it is still on your heart, continue to downplay faith as you are doing now. Be a ‘rational idiot,’ StephenB, if that is what suits you. And blame the Euro Enlightenment for it!

    “The existence of God has already been demonstrated by Aquinas’ broad-based ID”

    Like most thinking Catholics, Aquinas would have rejected the required ‘scientificity’ of uppercase ID. Aquinas both had faith and used his reason. DI-ID instead tries to warp a Cultural Renewal with a ‘natural scientific inference’ to God. Trying to force reason and faith apart is a defeatist strategy that StephenB has unwisely chosen to attempt (following mainly Protestant conceptualists).

    Uppercase ID = faith & reason-based. lowercase id = faith & reason-based. What good does fragmenting humanity by dividing faith and reason serve StephenB’s hyper-IDist UD argument?

    lowercase ‘design theory’ is legitimate and widespread (with no ‘Expelled Syndrome’). uppercase ID ‘Design theory’ is an attempt at scientific apologetics (with resulting ‘Expelled Syndrome’).

    Instead, why not drop the obvious pretense, IDists? Admit the religious motivation (as if UDers don’t rail at atheists, materialists, naturalists and post links to creationist and religious apologetics on a regular basis!), the impossibility of a ‘natural scientific proof/inference’ of a/the Designer. Most Catholics and other Abrahamic believers who have carefully studied IDism know this already. Your ruse isn’t working.

    The uppercase ID vs. lowercase id challenge reveals this most directly, which is why not a single UDist will scold DonaldM or JDH, who realise the id/ID distinction is valid.

    Torley understands it (and uses Uppercase ID as Abrahamic-Christian apologetics). The IDM leaders also understand it (and thus deceptively use only lowercase id in their writings, when they really mean Uppercase ID). Why don’t UDists understand it? Why are UD’s ‘definition makers’ unwilling to publically admit it? Why do they still flip-flop equivocating ‘intelligent design’ and ‘Intelligent Design’ as if people are too stupid to see the difference?

    Who knows…and frankly who really cares?

    p.s. StephenB, you’re actually starting to sound like another pseudonymous “Mike Gene;” who at first wouldn’t admit to *any* relevance of theology/worldview in his uppercase D ‘Design’ theory, but now admits it openly and fully, focussing his store of energy on atheists and anti-uppercase IDists, even if only in a cul-de-sac of relevance. I asked him directly and he ‘denied’ philosophy and theology, just like Peter. Now he sees the folly of such a separatist position.

    p.p.s. don’t forget what DonaldM wrote in the OP: “Philosophical, metaphysical and/or theological speculations need not apply.”

  25. Hi Gregory,

    “KF and I don’t use them interchangeably, but we do often point out the similarities.”

    You say:

    “I’ve taken flack for this, as if it is a meaningless distinction, yet it is a distinction you now concede is meaningful (even while faking the ‘similarities’ and disguising the ‘differences’).”

    You have heard me say time and time again that this line of argument is a ‘waste of time’ and that ‘no one is particualrly bothered to discuss it’. The reason I hold this view is not because its by any means ‘meaningless’, its just that there is no conspiracy involved, other than in your head, as when understood properly it is plainly obvious to everyone from the get go what’s involved.

    I understand Big ID and little id, what’s not to understand? The problems with their definitions, and use on this site, are purely of your own.

    So come on, let’s please not go down that path again. If you think it is such an important topic why don’t you stick to discussing it on your own blog with the myriads of people who flock there.

  26. I had a feeling it would be ‘PeterJ’ who would respond. The cutting-room floor. Yet another pseudonymous IDist suffering from ‘Expelled Syndrome.’ PeterJ can mention my blog all he wants; where is his? Who is he? Another courageous IDist hiding behind a pseudonym?

    “I understand Big ID and little id, what’s not to understand?”

    There’s no conspiracy, it’s just an obviously grave threat to the IDM’s ‘pseudo-scientific’ theory. ID leaders have discovered this already and thus stick to lowercase id (even though they slip back to Uppercase ID when often speaking in churches and at science-religion events).

    I don’t usually respond to ‘PeterJ’ because he has demonstrated nothing to move the conversation forward. Rude and disrespectful as usual. Ad hom and empty talk.

    JDH and DonaldM at least loosely recognise the Uppercase ID vs. lowercase id distinction. So does StephenB (through IDist whitewash). So does vjtorley. So do many others, even at UD! Indeed, the orthodox Abrahamic religious position accepts Uppercase D/C Design/Creation, though not provable ‘natural scientifically’.

    The fact is that properly distinguishing Uppercase ID from lowercase id effectively explodes the IDM’s ‘small tent’ into pieces. That is why IDists wish to disregard it as valid. Most UDists can’t handle this truth, so led by evidence-proven flip-floppers, you run from it.

    Uppercase ID *cannot* be a ‘natural scientific-only’ theory unless one wants to twist it into a scientific theology of the Uppercase D ‘Designer,’ aka God.

    UD harbours anti-scientific or scientifically under-developed creationists for their funding channels, even while tokenly rejecting their ‘creation science.’

    The IDM wants ‘ID Theory’ to be *ONLY* a natural scientific theory, totally detached from personalities, dehumanised, numb, without any motivation at all except ‘doing good science.’ This is the neutrality myth that’s already been burst, but that IDists don’t understand given their distorted or non-existent philosophy of science! However, once a sociology of science is performed on the IDM, that ‘detachment’ is seem as laughable and unbelievable.

    And Meyer’s ‘informationist’ claims about OoL fall to more relevant current challenges to real science, which rightly marginalises IDism as a largely apologetic ideology (which is daily demonstrated here at UD).

    PeterJ is unbelievable and without credibility (hiding behind his pseudonym, afraid to be seen for what he is), which is why he calls ‘waste of time’ towards respectable folks like Gingerich. This is what the internet allows, though we don’t have to give it or him any dignity.

    The only rhetoric IDists have remaining once ID vs. id is exposed as creatively destructive of the IDM is that “he or she doesn’t/must not understand ID.” They are left to wonder: “why doesn’t he or she laugh at ‘our’ jokes?” But enough of us have already read and carefully studied and personally interacted with and questioned IDM leaders, and time and again received unsatisfactory or insufficient answers, to now see through the facade IDism is proposing.

    Yes, there are decent people in the DI and among ID leaders, but they are not nearly as ‘Revolutionary’ as they pomp and proclaim!

    A Potyomkin Village: this is the IDM’s ‘natural science-only’ claims. Hello, we’ve got pictures from behind the props that you ignore at your peril! Admit ID vs. id and you’ll see the reality of the scientistic facade too = ))

  27. Gregory, I don’t pretend to be anything other than someone who enjoys the discussions on this site, someone who is trying to learn, someone who is very open to hearing all the evidences provided in a debate with the hope of being able to then make an informed decision as to what I think is the best explanation.

    You say:

    “PeterJ is unbelievable and without credibility (hiding behind his pseudonym, afraid to be seen for what he is), which is why he calls ‘waste of time’ towards respectable folks like Gingerich. This is what the internet allows, though we don’t have to give it or him any dignity.”

    It bothers me not in the slightest your impression of me, however, I find it quite amusing that you, an accomplished scientist?, is so cutting edge and interesting that your blog (something I could never achieve) in the last year has attracted the ettention of about 7 people. And the even more impressive talk that you gave, almost a year ago, has attracted 458 views of which only one felt it worthy of comment, albeit from someone who couldn’t quite string a sentence together (see link below)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t85d6Bh9Nys

    If however you would like to know a little bit more about who I am, what credibilty I may or may not have, you could view the link below.

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Design.....n+for+life

    Blessings :)

  28. G: A note. Basically, the distinction you have been pushing is ideologically loaded, and unacceptable. Not interested. What is of more interest is the establishment of a pattern of causal reasoning per inference to best explanation on tested, empirically reliable signs. This shows, strongly that FSCO/I is a reliable sign of design as materially relevant causal factor. Turning to the world of life this raises serious questions that cell based life reflects such design, starting with DNA and the machinery that carries out its code. beyond that it is because PeterJ made a remark in this thread that it drew my attention to reply. G’day. KF

  29. Gregory

    Where on the ID Resources pages do you “point out the similarities” between uppercase ID and lowercase id?

    I just pointed them out, but you slept through the presentation. They are both empirically and observationally based. In that context, and in many others, Aquinas, Paley, and ID (Discovery Institute style) are similar. Or, to put it in negative terms, they are not fideistic, faith-first paradigms.

    The problem is that you don’t understand your own category of uppercase ID and cannot define it even when challenged to do so. Does it include Aquinas and Paley? Or is it limited to “faithism.” You will not tell us. Indeed, you cannot tell us because your category is meaningless and illogical.

    If you admit Aquinas and Paley into the category of uppercase ID, complete with their reason-based approach, it blows away your silly claim that Abrahamic religions always accept design on faith. If, on the other hand, you admit that you are consciously leaving them out, then you are also admitting that your uppercase ID is so incomplete as to be ridiculous–and you are admitting that you know nothing about the history of natural theology. I know your philosophy better than you do.

    I’ve taken flack for this, as if it is a meaningless distinction, yet it is a distinction you now concede is meaningful (even while faking the ‘similarities’ and disguising the ‘differences’).

    I have always been aware of the distinction and I have never characterized it as meaningless. The problem is that I understand the differences— and—-in spite of your extravagant claims of expertise– you don’t. You are simply incapable of grasping the point that being different is not the same as being incompatible.

    What StephenB doesn’t seem to realise is that already this destroys the common myth that uppercase ID is purely (i.e. only) a natural scientific theory.

    Irrelevant nonsense. Broad ID theory does not, in any way, invalidate the more narrowly focused ID approach.

    Honestly, StephenB, what rock are you hiding under to express such views? Fuller is not ‘rejecting reason’s role,’ and neither am I. Are you writing such absurdities purposefully?

    If you are not rejecting reason’s role, then why do you make the irrational claim that all “Abrahamic” religions accept design solely on faith? Romans 1:20 teaches that design is “evident” and does not, therefore, require faith. In fact, you do reject reason’s role in the name of faith. That is precisely your problem.

    As a Catholic, StephenB, why not go tell that to your priest-confessor this week? Then you can come back to us after you’ve done this and if it is still on your heart, continue to downplay faith as you are doing now.

    I am not downplaying faith. I am pointing out that it cannot function properly in the absence of reason, nor can it be used as a substitute for it—as is evident in your irrational and fideistic rants.

    Like most thinking Catholics, Aquinas would have rejected the required ‘scientificity’ of uppercase ID.

    Not a chance.

    p.s. StephenB, you’re actually starting to sound like another pseudonymous “Mike Gene;” who at first wouldn’t admit to *any* relevance of theology/worldview in his uppercase D ‘Design’ theory, but now admits it openly and fully, focussing his store of energy on atheists and anti-uppercase IDists, even if only in a cul-de-sac of relevance. I asked him directly and he ‘denied’ philosophy and theology, just like Peter. Now he sees the folly of such a separatist position.

    When I explain the common elements shared by faith and reason, you call it “flip-flopping.” When I explain the differences between faith and reason, you call it “separatism.” Clearly, you are not capable of rational thought. I feel very sorry for you.

  30. “the world of life” – by Captain KF

    Only hiddenly a Carribean Christian…

  31. What we know is that ‘StephenB’ pretends to be a philosopher and even a human being, while wildly throwing Christian invective from his low perch at UD. What we don’t know, because we have no proof, is if he is *actually* a human being. Who is he? Why don’t we know this? Because he hides behind an ‘Expelled Syndrome’ pseudonym at UD and obviously isn’t as courageous as PeterJ to show himself, his real name and occupation in public.

    That deceptive phenomenon is often part and parcel of being an ‘IDist.’ Lord have pity on them!

    What we also know is that ‘StephenB’ is rude, tricksy, petty, uncharitable and simply cannot bring himself to admit any wrongdoing on his own behalf for flip-flopping on UD’s ‘Resources’ page. This flip-flopping is obvious, it is easily accessible and it has his and KF’s names written on it. Sadly, they have still provided no clear and explicit explanation for it.

    In one paragraph they write ‘intelligent design.’ In another they write ‘Intelligent Design.’ Do they think we are too stupid to see the difference?! No explanation for this is given.

    Does PeterJ welcome such deceptive, flip-flop ‘reasoning?’ Does he accept that the ‘scientific theory’ he appears to be defending might be imperfect, vulnerable or even lacking, full of holes. I’m not sure PeterJ is even willing to ‘get theoretical,’ or to learn about theories, i.e. to invite actual education on this topic.

    I appreciate the ‘everyman’ position, but the ‘everyman’ is not a theoretician. Admit your weaknesses, sir! Nothing has indicated in PeterJ a willingness to ‘get theoretical.’ It doesn’t even really seem like he thinks deeply on these things, but would rather listen to and swallow his local house-church leader (non-Priest), or local political ideologue, stunned by American IDism and sadly ready to regurgitate it fully.

    Does PeterJ really reject credible scholarship, does he reject learning; does he reject thinkers who hold his same worldview? Is he anti-science like many American ‘young earth creationists’? He sure sounds so far like a YEC follower of K. Ham, K. Hovind, et al. Is PeterJ a YEC – does he believe the Earth is a few thousand years old?!

    “‘Evolution’ is from the Devil,” this seems to be PeterJ’s current immature ‘born-again’ position.

    Yet the Catholic Church and thus the majority of Christians accept an old Earth and that ‘evolution’ is “more than just a theory.” Whining about ‘Darwinism’ (qua only ‘scientific theory’) brings shame on Christian brothers and sisters who are more scientifically and philosophically literate than you are. That’s 20c. regurgitation, in case you have a sense of forward-vision in you…

  32. PeterJ is a Christian (wannabe) politician and apologist. It seems quite obvious that his embrace of ‘Intelligent Design’ is connected with his conversation to Christianity. My simple questions for him are as follows: Does being a Christian in *any* way influence your desire to embrace ‘Intelligent Design Theory’ (IDT)? When you were not a Christian (e.g. 20 years ago) would you have embraced IDT?

    In regard to how many ‘views’ my low-priority blog receives, it should be evident that I can attack Peter’s person and ‘votes’ as easily as he can mine. Not all websites or blogs are ‘designed’ (small-d) for mass audiences. I’m not ashamed at the number of views my other sites and publications receive. And I’m quite young in my scholarly career, so let’s watch if ‘PeterJ’ aims to attack this in his promotion of IDism. I quite like most Scots I meet (including two last week!), so perhaps he will consider grace instead of accusation.

    IDT bankrolls on creationist communication channels. The U.S. court was fully within its rights to draw the connection between IDT and creationists based on the fatal editing flaw of ‘cdesignproponentists.’ These are simply facts of the historical record. PeterJ has likely never met an ID leader from the DI.

    But here’s what’s most relevant: Does PeterJ believe in a ‘young’ (few thousands of years) Earth, is he a ‘creationist’ IDist too?

    “someone who is trying to learn” – PeterJ

    If that is the case, if you are really trying to learn, then I suggest you read Chapter 7 in Dembski’s “The Design Revolution: Answering the Toughest Questions about Intelligent Design,” which is called “The Design Argument.” It features the question: “How does intelligent design [small-id] differ from the design [small-d] argument?”

    In it, you will find such statements as this: “The validity of the design argument, otoh, depends not on the fruitfulness of design-theoretic ideas for science but on the metaphysical and theological mileage one can get out of design.” (65)

    Note carefully please, that Dembski speaks of “the distinction between the design argument and intelligent design.” (65)

    So when a kindergarten teacher, pseudo-philosopher and pretender like StephenB writes lies as he does at UD, please realise that the actual ID leader (whom he mimics) would not sanction him. And this is Dembski’s blog! A guy like StephenB is making things up as he goes without 1/10th of the intelligence of Dembski. That’s why he’s stuck at UD as an ‘expelled revolutionary’ (read: radical twister of ‘science’) and why UD does not accurately reflect ID leaders’ meanings.

  33. Karl Popper accused Michael Polanyi of ‘fideism,’ so I guess I shouldn’t take it too personally ;)

    My contribution to this conversation serves as a kind of ‘dislocation theory,’ one which dislocates the unsustainable IDist claim that ID is a ‘natural science-only’ theory. That position is unsustainable, yet it is what Dembski, Meyer, Behe, Nelson, Wells, et al. claim about it, except when they are speaking in their local or regional churches. Such a two-faced position, called a ‘Wedge of Truth’ by P. Johnson in his attempt to ‘renew’ American culture from the rise of secularism, is what I and others are rejecting.

    “The philosopher has no objections to a physicist’s beliefs so long as they are not advanced in the form of a philosophy.” – Hans Reichenbach

    PeterJ, will you now cease mentioning my blog or should I turn ad hom on you?

    I nod that you showed yourself and your history. There is no threat to your Christianity by rejecting IDT. I have met many Christians who reject IDT because they think it insults and degrades their theology.

    But if you don’t accept that ‘Intelligent Design’ is a *theory,* i.e. if you simply accept it (uppercase ID) as a fact, then there is no acceptable space for discussion.

    Your ‘credibility’ to me is enhanced because you’ve actually shown yourself. However, this shows that you are not a scholar, not a theorist, not an academic, and not someone credible to consult about ID Theory qua ‘theory.’ Your words show quite clearly that you believe in (uppercase) ‘ID’ *because* you converted to Christianity. You are exactly the kind of audience that the IDM/DI had in mind with their propaganda. “Make it look ‘scientific’ as if we have ‘natural scientific’ proof of God’s action.

    If you dig deeper, PeterJ, into Christian philosophy, science and theology discussions, you will discover there is no need to accept IDT as a ‘natural scientific’ proof/inference of (uppercase D) Design.

    StephenB is trite. He writes ‘design’ when he actually means ‘Design.’ He writes ‘intelligent design’ when he actually means ‘Intelligent Design’ and vice versa. We still have no clear explanation from him or from KF about precisely what they mean when they flip-flop between the two distinct terms. Should we hold our breaths?

    When people at UD call the distinction between uppercase ID and lowercase id as *MY* distinction, they are false witnesses. It is not *MY* idea. There are more accomplished and decorated Christian scholars who have already made this distinction. Let the distinction not fall on me.

    Can a person be a thinking Christian who rejects ‘Intelligent Design Theory’?

    YES.

    Must a person accept ‘Intelligent Design Theory’ if they are a Christian?

    NO.

    Where do you folks go from here, since most thinking Christians have given up trying to argue with your ideological insistency on the ‘Natural Scientific Revolution’ of (uppercase ID) ‘Intelligent Design’?

    One last word. I respect caregivers, PeterJ. This I remember in my family’s life, like probably many other people here do as well. But please don’t puff up your chest so much as to consider yourself an academic, who has gone through what I have in exchanges with scholars. You haven’t met anyone like me yet presume to put me in your little Scottish box. That, sir, is uncouth, it is low manners, it is not worthy of response.

    Where we can agree is that ‘universal Darwinism’ is a false ideology. There are ‘things that don’t evolve.’ If you find someone else asking this question please contact me. I’ve met with professors and scholars beyond what anyone (including the Canadian editor) at UD has encountered. You people seem to have no idea of what ‘post-Darwinism’ actually means in practice. I’m not here to help you. I think uppercase ID ‘theory’ is a waste of time.

    And I’m not interested in what ‘StephenB’ at UD says either way. If Dembski, the blog’s founder, or Meyer or Wells or Nelson or West (all of whom I’ve met), or Behe would like to contact me, they can just ‘click’ like everyone else. IDT has become outdated already. People who subscribe to it, and fanatics who tie their dreams to it like StephenB, are simply so far outside the Abrahamic mainstream, i.e. orthodoxy, as to admit ridicule and ignominy upon themselves.

    Gregory

    p.s. wrt FSCO/I, it would take no more than 20 seconds to come up with 10 things that KF’s supposed ‘FSCO/I’ couldn’t give a reasonable number for in 50 years. No one other than an ID fanatic would take this Caribbean ‘philosophy’ seriously. Period. Why should anyone care if KF/GEM is “not interested”? Enjoy the spring sunshine and let real thinkers continue to work without your whining and pretense. That would do justice to higher thinking.

  34. Remember folks how wrong this statement from the OP actually is:

    “you’re a philosophical naturalist, as nearly every ID critic is”

    Most ID critics who are Christians or other Abrahamic believers are left out of this statement.

    DonaldM is simply wrong, even if he won’t admit it. But so are most IDists on the sociology of IDism.

    Who is the IDM’s most outspoken and prominent sociologist? Silence!! Inhuman so far. This is your fault, not mine or the majority of Abrahamic believers.

  35. WOW – anyone *must be* ‘intelligent’ simply *because* they are ‘in’ the IDM! Get your ticket. Rock on. Cool dude. Anti-Darwin, anti-Science fish on your car. Be a ‘revolutionary’ for naturalistic theology! :P

  36. Gregory:

    Karl Popper accused Michael Polanyi of ‘fideism,’ so I guess I shouldn’t take it too personally ;)

    Translation: “I still don’t know what “fideism” and “natural theology” means, or how they apply to my muddleheaded analysis of lowercase id, but I Googled one of the words and noticed that someone else had once used it in a derogatory sense.”

    What we also know is that ‘StephenB’ is rude, tricksy, petty, uncharitable and simply cannot bring himself to admit any wrongdoing on his own behalf for flip-flopping on UD’s ‘Resources’ page.

    Translation: “I cannot provide a rational response to any of StephenB’s refutations @29, especially his account of my failure to provide a rational definition of ‘lowercase id,’ which is nothing less than the entire purpose of my existence.”

  37. 37

    Gregory calling someone “petty” is a hoot.

    Oh wait! Gregory calling someone “rude” is a hoot.

    OH WAIT! Gregory calling someone “uncharitable” is a HOOT!

  38. Gregory:

    Normally I would ignore your evidently habitual sniping.

    I need to say, that in the above you are being deliberately rude and excessively polarising by unnecessary personalisation. My arguments stand on their merits regardless of where I come from, or what my name would be etc. The only reason you are doing such is to try to be personal.

    That’s rude, and you need to know that.

    Kindly, do something about it, to fix that.

    next, if you actually have a substantial argument on observational evidence that 500+ bits worth of functionally specific organisation and information [about 72 ASCII characters worth] can be produced from scratch by blind chance and mechanical necessity per observation, all that would be required to be devastating would be to actually cite the cases. It seems evident that you are playing at personalities to cover the fact that you seem to be bluffing and dismissing on sheer opinion rather than evidence.

    Let me give you an example of a genuine test (reported in Wiki’s article on the Infinite Monkeys theorem), on very easy terms, random document generation, as I have cited many times:

    One computer program run by Dan Oliver of Scottsdale, Arizona, according to an article in The New Yorker, came up with a result on August 4, 2004: After the group had worked for 42,162,500,000 billion billion monkey-years, one of the “monkeys” typed, “VALENTINE. Cease toIdor:eFLP0FRjWK78aXzVOwm)-‘;8.t” The first 19 letters of this sequence can be found in “The Two Gentlemen of Verona”. Other teams have reproduced 18 characters from “Timon of Athens”, 17 from “Troilus and Cressida”, and 16 from “Richard II”.[24]

    A website entitled The Monkey Shakespeare Simulator, launched on July 1, 2003, contained a Java applet that simulates a large population of monkeys typing randomly, with the stated intention of seeing how long it takes the virtual monkeys to produce a complete Shakespearean play from beginning to end. For example, it produced this partial line from Henry IV, Part 2, reporting that it took “2,737,850 million billion billion billion monkey-years” to reach 24 matching characters:

    RUMOUR. Open your ears; 9r”5j5&?OWTY Z0d…

    Of course this is chance generating the highly contingent outcome.

    What about chance plus necessity, e.g. mutations and differential reproductive success of variants in environments? The answer is, that the non-foresighted — thus chance — variation is the source of high contingency. Differential reproductive success actually SUBTRACTS “inferior” varieties, it does not add. The source of variation is various chance processes, chance being understood in terms of processes creating variations uncorrelated with the functional outcomes of interest: i.e. non-foresighted.

    If you have a case, make it. Being rudely personal does not add to the case if you have one, and it simply reveals to the astute onlooker that you think you can gull him or her with fallacies of distraction if you cannot. Not good.

    In making that case I suggest you start with OOL, and bear in mind Meyer’s remark on that subject in reply to hostile reviews:

    The central argument of my book is that intelligent design—the activity of a conscious and rational deliberative agent—best explains the origin of the information necessary to produce the first living cell. I argue this because of two things that we know from our uniform and repeated experience, which following Charles Darwin I take to be the basis of all scientific reasoning about the past. First, intelligent agents have demonstrated the capacity to produce large amounts of functionally specified information (especially in a digital form).

    Notice the terminology he naturally uses and how close it is to the terms I and others have commonly used, functionally specific complex information. So much for that rhetorical gambit.

    He continues:

    Second, no undirected chemical process has demonstrated this power.

    Got that?

    Hence, intelligent design provides the best—most causally adequate—explanation for the origin of the information necessary to produce the first life from simpler non-living chemicals. In other words, intelligent design is the only explanation that cites a cause known to have the capacity to produce the key effect in question . . . . In order to [[scientifically refute this inductive conclusion] Falk would need to show that some undirected material cause has [[empirically] demonstrated the power to produce functional biological information apart from the guidance or activity a designing mind. Neither Falk, nor anyone working in origin-of-life biology, has succeeded in doing this . . .

    If you have an actual answer on the merits, let us see it.

    G’day

    KF

    PS: Those interested in seeing how others and I have developed a log reduced metric model linked to Dembski’s CSI and applicable to the scope of our practical universe, the solar system [basically every one of the 10^57 atoms is viewed as an observer, making a new observation -- actually, config -- every 10^-14 s, about as fast as the fastest chemical rxns.], cf. here.

  39. Oops on formatting.

  40. Gregory @32:

    I just wanted to make sure I was catching your point about Dembski’s discussion in The Design Revolution.

    In Chapter 7 Dembski discusses, primarily from a historical standpoint, various design arguments over the centuries, including some that have had as their focus to demonstrate the existence and attributes of the designer. In contrast, Dembski says, ID is not so interested in the identity or attributes of the designer, but rather on the objective criteria of design detection and insights into, for example, biological systems.

    I’m not sure how, or if, this fits into your broader point, but I’d be interested to know your thoughts on why you feel this nuance Dembski draws is important.

    Thanks,

  41. UB – just don’t laugh at my jokes; I’m a post-IDist! ;)

    It’s telling that you and others at UD haven’t faced #1 & 2 in this thread. There they chose to distinguish Uppercase ID from lowercase id. That distinction (even if they don’t realise it) breaks the back of IDism’s insistence on the ‘scientificity’ of ‘Intelligent Design Theory (IDT).’

    StephenB & KF are clearly and undeniably flip-floppers on UD’s Resources page. For some undisclosed reason, they feel they do not need to explain themselves. *Everyone* (read: ‘inside the IDM’) simply *must* understand why they flip-flop. Why in the first paragraph lowercase id and in the second Uppercase ID?

    Are you a flip-flopper too? vjtorley isn’t. IDM leadership has learned not to be (at least halfway). So why are KF and SB?

    Make your own guess. Laugh at their joke. It’s funny; it involves IDT.

  42. Hi Gregory,

    “Does being a Christian in *any* way influence your desire to embrace ‘Intelligent Design Theory’ (IDT)? When you were not a Christian (e.g. 20 years ago) would you have embraced IDT?”

    I became a Christian almost 7 years ago at the age of 38. Prior to that I had no knowledge of ID or ‘Creation’, and only a little knowledge about ‘evolution’. As I have said on here I am no scientist, or trained philosopher etc but I am extremely interested in all topics concerned with each of the above subjects.

    “But here’s what’s most relevant: Does PeterJ believe in a ‘young’ (few thousands of years) Earth, is he a ‘creationist’ IDist too?”

    Not long after I became a Christian I attended a weekend of talks by a ‘creation scientist’ who had been invited to the Island where I live by the local Brethren Church. I attended that whole weekend and listened intently to all that he said, enjoyed very much the Q & A time at the end, but because I found the majority of the speakers claims to be quite fantastic, shall we say, I went home and decided to look into these things for myself.

    What struck my Gregory most was that in a very short space of time I began to see that the ‘evolutionary story’ I had always believed, had major problems. The first one that I couldn’t seem to reconcile with the Darwinian account of ‘evolution’, and still is today, is the sheer lack of transitional fossils. Even if i had never become a Christian but had this problem pointed out to me and then carried out the same investigation, I would undoubtedly have come to the same conclusion: there is no solid evidence for common descent.

    Gregory, I don’t have time right now to expand on the conclusions I have drawn over the years about ‘evolution’, Creation, or ID, but to answer your question let me just say that although I am open to the various interpretations of the Genesis account for creation, I have no problem accepting a young earth as being correct. As i said I am also open to other possibilities, but from what i have learned over the years i wouldn’t completely dismiss it.

    Did God speak the entire universe into existence 7 thousand years ago, making it almost exactly as we see it today (albeit 7k years later)?

    Why not!

    At the end iof the day I am a Christian, not because I thought it a better way to live my life, but because of the supernatural way in which Jesus entered my life, the transforming power of the Holy Spirit who gave me a new heart and a new mind, and the every day evidence of the power of His word (Scripture) as it leads and guides me.

    I’m sorry if you felt I was being personal in my responses to you, but it has been rather frustrating at times.

    Intellegent Design is what it is Gregory. There is no conspiracy. It is scientific research. And that is why I visit this site.

    Blessings.

  43. Hi Gregory,

    Perhaps you should listen to this recent interview with Stephen Meyer.

    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....71751.html

    I think he faces some questions very reminiscent of your views.

  44. Gregory:

    With all due respect, when one has been corrected on a matter of fact, and insists on a continued misrepresentation, that is willful.

    Your artificial, forced and loaded upper/lower case symbolism had precisely zero impact on the development of the weak argument correctives. And, I for one see no reason whatsoever to try to revise to accommodate it. For one, it seems to be incoherent and tries to force a choice that r4eflects a tendentious agenda that is just the opposite of what we were doing and of what design theory is about as a school of thought on origins science.

    The epistemological warrant for origins science is no mystery, as Meyer and others have summarised. In effect, on identifying traces form the remote past, and on examining and observing candidate causes in the present and their effects, one may identify characteristic signs of certain acting causes. These, on observation, can be shown to be reliable indicators or signs of particular causes in some cases.

    From this, by inductive reasoning on inference to best explanation, we may apply the Newtonian uniformity principle of like causing like.

    It so turns out that FSCO/I is such a sign, reliably produced by design, and design is the only empirically grounded adequate cause known to produce such. Things like codes [as systems of communication], complex organised mechanisms, complex algorithms expressed in codes, linguistic expressions beyond a reasonable threshold of complexity, algorithm implementing arrangements of components in an information processing entity, and the like are cases in point.

    It turns out 6that the world of the living cell is replete with such, and so we are inductively warranted in inferring design as best causal explanation. Not, on a priori imposition of teleology, or on begging metaphysical questions, or the like; but, on induction in light of tested, reliable signs of causal forces at work.

    And in that context the Chi_500 expression,

    Chi_500 = Ip*S – 500, bits beyond the solar system threshold

    . . . is a metric that starts with our ability to measure explicit or information content, directly [an on/off switch such as for the light in a room has 2 possible states and stores one bit, two store two bits . . . ] or by considering the relevant analysis of observed patterns of configurations. It then uses our ability to observe functional specificity (does any and any configuration suffice, or do we need well-matched, properly arranged parts with limited room for variation and alternative arrangement before function breaks] to move beyond info carrying capacity to functionally specific info.

    This is actually commonly observed in a wold of info technology. I have tried the experiment of opening up the background file for an empty basic Word document then noticing the many seemingly meaningless repetitive elements. So, I pick one effectively at random, and clip it out, saving the result. Then, I try opening the file from Word again. It reliably breaks. Seeming “junk digits” is plainly functionally required and specific.

    But, as we saw from the infinite monkeys discussion, it is possible to hit on functionally specific patterns if they are short enough, by chance. Though, discovering when one has done so can be quite hard. The sum of the random document exercises is that spaces of about 10^50 are searchable within available resources. At 25 ASCII characters, at 7 bits per character, that is about 175 bits.

    Taking in the fact that for each additional bit used in a system, the config space DOUBLES, the difference between 175 or so bits, and the solar system threshold adopted based on exhausting the capacity of the solar system’s 10^57 atoms and 10^17 s or so, is highly significant. At the threshold, we are in effect only able to take a sample in the ratio of one straw’s size to a cubical haystack as thick as our galaxy, 1,000 light years. As CR’s screen image case shows, and as imagining such a haystack superposed on our galactic neighbourhood would show, by sampling theory, we could only reasonably expect such a sample to be typical of the overwhelming bulk of the space, straw.

    In short, we have a very reasonable practical threshold for cases where examples of functionally specific information and/or organisation are sufficiently complex that we can be comfortable that such cannot plausibly be accounted for on blind — undirected — chance and mechanical necessity.

    On the strength of that, we have every epistemic right to infer that cell based life shows signs pointing to design. An extension of this, gives us reason to infer that body plans similarly show signs of design. And, related arguments give us reason to infer that a cosmos fine tuned in many ways that converge on enabling such C-chemistry, aqueous medium cell based life on habitable terrestrial planets or similarly hospitable environments, also shows signs of design.

    Not on a prioi impositions, but on induction from evidence we observe and reliable signs that we establish inductively. That is, scientifically.

    Multiply that by the evidence that there is a definite, finitely remote beginning to the observed cosmos, some 13.7 BYA being a common estimate, and 10 – 20 BYA a widely supported ballpark. That says, it is contingent, has underlying enabling causal factors, and so is a contingent, caused being.

    All of this to this point is scientific, with background logic and epistemology. Not theology, revealed or natural. It owes nothing to the teachings of any religious movement or institution.

    However, it does provide surprising corroboration to the statements of two apostles who went out on a limb philosophically by committing the Christian faith in foundational documents to reason/communication being foundational to observed reality, our world. In short the NT concepts of the Logos [John 1, cf Col 1, Heb 1, Ac 17] and that the evident, discernible reality of God as intelligent creator from signs in the observed cosmos [Rom 1 cf Heb 11:1 - 6, Ac 17 and Eph 4:17 - 24], are supported by key findings of science over the past 100 or so years.

    There are debates over timelines and interpretatins of Genesis, as well there would be. They do not matter, in the end, given the grounds advanced on the different sides of the debate. We can live with Gen 1 – 11 being a sweeping, often poetic survey meant only to establish that the world is not a chaos, and it is not a product of struggling with primordial chaos or wars of the gods or the like. The differences between the Masoretic genealogies and those in the ancient translation, the Septuagint, make me think we need to take pause on attempts to precisely date creation on such evidence. Schaeffer probably had something right in his suggestion that one would be better advised to see this as describing the flow and outline of Biblical history rather than a precise, sequential chronology. And that comes up once we can see how consistently reliable the OT is as reflecting its times and places, patterns and events, even down to getting names right.

    So, debating Genesis is to follow a red herring and go off to pummel a strawman smeared with stereotypes and set up for rhetorical conflagration. A fallacy of distraction, polarisation and personalisation. As is too often found as a habitual pattern of objectors to design theory.

    What is substantial is the evidence on origins of our world and of the world of cell based life in the light of its challenge to us in our comfortable scientism.

    And, in that regard, we have again — this is the umpteenth time, G; and you have long since worn out patience and turning the other cheek in the face of personalities, once it became evident that denigration was a main rhetorical device at work — had good reason to see that design theory is a legitimate scientific endeavour, regardless of rhetorical games being played to make it appear otherwise.

    G, with all due respect, you need to take a serious pause in front of a mirror and think again.

    G’day,

    KF

  45. 45

    Gregory @41

    You were not ‘chastised, mocked and dismissed’ for merely making your point – your unfortunate reception here is based on the fact that you’re an unpleasant horses ass. You developed a trivial point regarding a distinction between ID beliefs (trivial in the sense that it’s not a serious impediment to the conversation) and you’ve repeatedly come back from your “retirement” from UD in order to pistol-whip people for carrying on the conversation without paying homage to your distinction. The participants here have responded with very clear cues regarding your abuse of people, but you appear to the incapable of receiving those cues.

    And it is no secret: My individual problem with you is that you’ve attacked ID over the claim that ID is based on an analogy between biological design and human design, and that there are no theories of human design. Both of these claims are eviscerated by the evidence of semiosis, yet no matter how many times I’ve tried, you refuse to enagage that evidence. This strategy has been successful to the extent that I am no longer interested. Your credibility has ended in tatters without the need to defeat your claims.

  46. Donald, ‘cep matter doesn’t cause things without an external impetus – don’t laugh – by a ‘deus ex machina’…!

  47. Eric,

    Re: #40 less than half of the Chapter’s purpose is in your answer. What remains to be said is imo more important.

    Dembski uses two terms: “the design argument” and “design arguments.” He doesn’t make clear why he uses ‘the’ as if there is only a single ‘design argument.’ (Where else have we seen such lack of precision ; ) But he does give a very brief (the entire chapter is <7 pages) and surface ‘western’ history of ‘design arguments.’ Eric is surely right about that.

    Will you confirm here publically at UD, Eric, that Dembski makes the claim there of a “distinction between the design argument and intelligent design [theory]”? (65) Again, we must remember it is a ‘theory,’ otherwise we cannot analyse it properly.

    Dembski makes the distinction and this constitutes the heart of the problem.

    Simply put, ‘design arguments’ are in the proper category of theology/worldview. People don’t claim that their ‘design argument’ is a ‘natural science!’ Please make your position clear if you disagree with it.

    Otoh, “Intelligent Design Theory” claims to be a biological theory, a natural scientific theory…of patterns in nature, origins of life, human origins, biological information, etc. Are we on the same page so far? The claim to being ‘scientific’ is not only crucial; it is the donkey’s back which carries all of IDT’s supposed ‘revolutionary’ implications.

    That’s why it was suggested to me here at UD that if IDT stopped making its claims to being ‘only scientific’ the ball game would change. I agree.

    This is why the Uppercase ID vs. lowercase id distinction is so important. Uppercase ID *theory* makes two key claims: 1) It *is* a ‘natural scientific theory’ (i.e. that seeks to be revolutionary, paradigm-shifting, etc.), and 2) the (Big-D for Divine) ‘Designer’ *cannot* be identified or studied.

    Dembski makes very clear in the previous chapter that human beings are *not* the ‘Designer(s)’ (added because no ID leader to my knowledge has yet answered RBH’s early 2000s ‘multiple designer theory’ alternative to single Designer IDT) that Uppercase IDT addresses:

    “Although attributing intelligent design to human artifacts is uncontroversial [not exactly true], eyebrows are quickly raised when Intelligent Design [he wrote decapitalised, but means capitalised] is attributed to biological systems…it refuses to speculate about the nature of that Designing Intelligence [again, he wrote decapitalised, but means capitalized].” (58)

    Here Dembski is trying to have it both ways. ‘Human artifacts’ are made by human beings, who are not ‘Divine,’ i.e. not capitalised. The transcendent ‘Designer’ that IDT implies is and should be capitalised. That is why the lowercase id reference to human-made things is so important. If human beings were Divine, then lowercase id would properly turn into Uppercase ID. But unless someone here wants to make the claim that they are Divine (which is why the imago Dei argument is so important), then no capitalization for lowercase d ‘designer’ is the appropriate designate for human beings and our lowercase c ‘creations.’

    Disallowing this is to be willfully partial to confusing humans and God/gods.

    lowercase id is likewise not a theoretical position; it is simply the belief that all Abrahamic believers have in a Creator, in Divinity, that which is identified by Name. It is only decapitalised in this conversation in order to distinguish it from Uppercase IDT, which most Abrahamic believers rightfully reject due to its obvious natural scientism. It is a theological/worldview position and does not either require or think it is possible for natural science to prove it. It is faith-based (e.g. as PeterJ spoke of “transforming power”). Pejoratively calling it ‘fideist’ serves no purpose here but ridicule towards fellow Abrahamists. Believing in a Transcendent Creator to be called by Name is not an empty ideology; it is part of the Abrahamic Tradition.

    We can’t wait to hear from StephenB’s Priest if he doesn’t need faith, but only reason, doubting if he’ll report what he wrote to his confessor: “We don’t need faith to accept God’s existence.” Really?!

    “I don’t believe there IS a god by faith. I believe there IS a god by the rules of logic and science (ID).” – JDH

    This isn’t a question of there being a ‘conspiracy’ involved, but rather of making clear and accurate distinctions and using symbols and signs in the proper way. Yes, PeterJ, practising scholars aim to carefully communicate what they mean, while low-level thinkers flip-flop between words, like ‘broad ID’ and ‘big-picture ID’ and don’t give effort to offer clear distinctions of why they choose to capitalise terms or not. Thankfully, I’ve seen beyond IDM conspiracy theories (the DI feeds this stuff to kids) and face the facts reasonably and with scholarly rigour. My preference is clarity instead of obfuscation.

    If we can ‘scientifically’ prove/infer that the natural world, a bacterial flagellum, etc. ‘was’ (carefully note that IDT is a past tense theory, not a future-oriented approach) ‘Designed’ by a transcendent Intelligent Agent (even if Dembski doesn’t always capitalize, the ‘implication’ is obviously that ‘Designed’ and ‘Intelligent Agent’ or ‘Intelligence’ should be capitalised), it is not just a blow to ‘Darwinian evolutionary theory’ in biology, but would mean a radical revaluation of science, philosophy, theology/worldview discourse. Dembski calls IDT “The Bridge” between science and theology. This is why Chuck Colson opens the Foreword with “Bill Dembski is, above all, a revolutionary.” Sadly for the two of them, that word doesn’t actually seem to fit him; it is mere fancy.

    The back of the book asks: “The Design Revolution…Is it science? Is it religion? What exactly is it?”

    As I’ve been saying for years and as many others have said also, ‘Intelligent Design Theory’ is part of a larger science, philosophy, theology/worldview conversation. To deny this is meaningless. Or, as PeterJ says; “it is what it is.”

    Obviously there is no ‘design revolution,’ Big-D or small-d aside. So desperate to enact a ‘scientific revolution,’ IDists have given away their birthright. It is what it is; a science, philosophy, theology/worldview conversation.

    Uppercase ID is a theory constructed in the United States, first by C. Thaxton, then Meyer and Johnson, Dembski, Behe and a few others. It didn’t fall out of the sky ‘perfected,’ and it is far from perfect now.

    lowercase id is the traditional Abrahamic faith that the universe is made by a ‘Creator’ (you apply the name you believe). Stop trying to scientificise what is not scientificisable! (And if you can’t understand the neology, let not Dembski explain it to you.)

    Flip-flop will make you jump, jump!

    By attempting to conflate Uppercase ID with lowercase id, the IDM is trying to have its cake and eat it too. Dembski knows this. Meyer knows this. The DI knows this. That is why they have ceased using Uppercase ID (except as an abbreviation). They don’t write ‘Intelligent Design’ very often anymore because the backlash has already happened. They know it is insulting to fellow Abrahamic believers who reject their ‘theory.’ They know that capitalisation makes it appear like they are foisting a philosophy, theology/worldview conversation into a declared ‘science-only’ discourse space.

    Eric, be welcome to contact me by email. A voice conversation could help. And I simply cannot keep coming here.

    Gregory

    “It is the heart which perceives God and not the reason. That is what faith is: God perceived by the heart, not by the reason.” – Blaise Pascal

    p.s. KF if your level of reading and thinking does not allow you to recognise the difference between ‘Intelligent Design Theory’ and ‘design theory,’ you should return to grade school and take a basic comprehension course. You still conflate them, calling IDT as ‘design theory,’ when the two are distinct signifiers. Why?

    “design theory is a legitimate scientific endeavour”

    Yes, it is. But ‘design theory’ differs from ‘Intelligent Design Theory.’ What part of this don’t you understand, KF?! Come clean, after the “umpteenth time,” will you not?

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