Vacuity of ID: Dembski: Vast Ignorance and Trifling Understanding

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Dembski in a blog posting called Evolution: Vast Ignorance and Trifling Understanding shows once again why ID is scientifically vacuous and nothing more than a gap theory.

Dembski Wrote:

‘[ID theorists] are very good at raising questions in areas of ignorance: ‘You can’t explain this, therefore it’s intelligent design.’ You can’t just put God into our gaps in knowledge.’ What I find remarkable about this standing refrain by evolutionists is the presumption that their theory deserves the benefit of the doubt.

It doesn’t of course. What these ID critics correctly point out is that ID is an argument from ignorance also known as a gap theory, based on an eliminative filter which following Dembski’s ‘logic’ is useless.

The implicit image we are expected to buy is of a vast countryside entirely mapped out by Darwinian theory and only a few pockets of resistance yet to be explored. But the opposite is true. If, for instance, the vast countryside is complex molecular machines (which are required for life to exist at all), then this countryside is completely unexplained by Darwinian and materialistic evolutionary theories (read James Shapiro, read Franklin Harold, read Michael Behe, …).

Nice strawman… The vacuity of ID and the adherence to ignorance hardly means that science should know all the answers. Molecular machines remain fully unexplained by ID other than by ‘poof’. Of course, this ignorance is quickly grabbed by ID proponents to infer design.

What is the ID argument? Science is ignorant as to how X happened, thus X is complex and specified (specification is a trivial issue in biology) and thus we should accept that X was designed. Ignoring for the moment the somewhat esoteric meaning of ‘design’ and the major flaws in using an eliminative approach, it should be self evident that Dembski is promoting through his explanatory filter, an argument from ignorance. While at the same time adding nothing to scientific knowledge…

Thanks Bill for once again making the argument better than any ID critic could do. I do admire your chutzpah. I guess the following may help understand better.

In my case my cards have been on the table, my career is ruined so (laughter) it doesn’t matter at this point but eh I say just what I want in this regard but it’s a real problem.

Dembski in a series of lectures at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in 2003.

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The What the Heck is He Talking About? Edition Like the last edition of this series, this edition of F@IDTF is about a post by Paul Nelson. In Read More

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Behe should be smarting at the research articles published in Science this week on several mechanisms for rotary mechanisms in cells. Hardly “irreducibly complex” or “designed.” It appears from the article that several approaches to the same problem of rotation evolved.

Dembski can froth all he likes but it’s only froth and that’s becoming more and more evident. Do you think he’ll be citing Connie Morris as a reference in the future? One can only hope!

Bill Wrote:

It appears from the article that several approaches to the same problem of rotation evolved.

I would be interested in more information about this. Which articles?

PvM,

I think that would be “Nature’s Rotary Electromotors” in Science, page 642,654, and 659.

Yep, Flint, that’s it.

What struck me was how the motors work through Brownian motion of ions.

Not that they operate at random, considering they were “designed” an all, but there are several configurations that can hardly be considered “irreducably complex.”

Obviously several ways to skin the Schroedinger Cat.

It won’t deter Behe, however, since he neither reads nor understands the literature. Behe’s right, you know. He told us that at the hearings in Kansas. He will continue to lecture to hairdressers and insurance salesmen, apologies to both groups, on topics obviously way to difficult for mere mortals to understand.

Bill you are right in apologising to hairdressers and insuarance salesmen. Genuine scientists have a a helathy regard for people with hard to acquire skills. Remember Einstein wanted to be a plumber if given another chance at a career. Dembski seems to be like a Rip Van Winkle. Having turned his eyes away from the developments of science for the last decade he is only now realising that the joke has been on him all this while. After gathering a crew of flunkies and factotums ranging from Robert O’Brien to Sal Cordova BD has come to think that what they say is for real!

I think we can confidently predict that some creationists will take credit for this research, as an example of how ID acts to direct science in useful directions. I’m equally confident that Behe will simply ignore this work, on the grounds that doctrine trumps evidence.

I just found it

Science, Vol 308, Issue 5722, 642-644 , 29 April 2005 Nature’s Rotary Electromotors Wolfgang Junge and Nathan Nelson

Cells are packed full of molecular motors that carry out a plethora of different functions. In their Perspective, Junge and Nelson discuss two recent studies (Meier et al., Murata et al.) that shed light on the workings of rotary electromotors, one designed to drive the synthesis of the energy carrier molecule ATP, the other to pump sodium cations at the expense of ATP hydrolysis

Of course ID proponents are likely to quote the paper to show how science supports ‘design’.. ID’s propensity to confuse these issues extends beyond the methodological/philosophical naturalism conflation.

An Online version of the above paper

The first two obey similar construction principles, whereas the bacterial flagellar motor is quite different. But all three types of rotary motor contain a central, ion-binding rotor ring that is embedded in the respective coupling membrane of the cell.

Check out also the Publications page of Wolfgang Junge

And my prediction seems to have been right on the mark

Sigh…

PvM wrote

And my prediction seems to have been right on the mark

Another engineer.

from the monarch article listed in the creationist site linked by PvM:

“Regardless of whether or not you are an evolutionist, ID proponent, or creationist, you have to be awed by the integrated complexity of the navigational system of the monarch butterly. For more technical readers, see the Neuron article.”

Integrated complexity? Is that the transmogrification of irreducible complexity?

It’s getting so hard to stay hip to ID street jargon anymore.

I wish you guys would quit putting down engineers already.  Have you ever looked at what Ken Miller et alii have actually studied, as in what coursework they did not take?  If they never actually studied biology, their propensity to see design is perhaps as natural as that of the gender studies major to see power relationships as determinative of what gets accepted in science.

This is an argument for broadening general science requirements, starting in high school; there is nothing quite like dissecting a fetal pig and doing all the reading about the patched-together nature of aerobic metabolism to appreciate that there’s good design, haphazard design and products of evolution.

Media Event Tonight, May 5th, 2005

According to http://www.uncommondescent.com/inde[…]/46#comments, William Dembski will be interviewed on ABC Nightline tonight.

Those of you who have reasonable, terse, and strategic questions that you might like to see posed to Mr. Dembski may consider sending them to Nightline at:

Engineer-Poet Wrote:

I wish you guys would quit putting down engineers already. Have you ever looked at what Ken Miller et alii have actually studied, as in what coursework they did not take?

So presumably he hasn’t taken (m)any biology courses. That hasn’t stopped him from starting a blog about ID. The question is, why are certain professions more prone to harbor individuals who are willing to speak out on topics about which they are demonstrably ignorant?

I think we’re dealing with vast ego and trifling reflection.

I wish you guys would quit putting down engineers already. …their propensity to see design is perhaps natural as that of the gender studies major to see power relationships as determinative of what gets accepted in science.

Gender-studies people can be real idiots because they filter things through a political filter while ignoring the reality around them. Much like intelligent designers use a religion filter. In these cases, they’re deliberating ignoring evidence and deliberately refusing to understand.

Engineers go more along the conceptual bias errors. Since they design things, they think in terms of design. This filter, applied to biology, is rubbish. You can’t at biological processes through a mechanical/design filter. Engineering, like religious or gender studies, isn’t biology. Entirely different concepts.

And an engineer, unless he’s got proven expertise in evolutionary biology, like a Ph.D., he should expect criticism for his pretended expertise. Applogists to the contrary. As I’ve said in the past, without proof of expertise, a PhD in Engineering no more qualifies a person to be an expert, or even educated commentator, on evolution than an Art History major that spent most of his college career as a drunken frat boy.

If the criticism is that they are not biologists rather than that they are engineers, it would appear much less prejudiced to emphasize the former rather than the latter.  Otherwise, you risk alienating a lot of engineers out there.

Talking about how Miller is an embarrassment to engineers probably wouldn’t hurt.

Feh. As an engineer, I don’t think an engineering education makes someone more inclined to presume design. These guys are “a Christian and…”; I think they’re just using their engineering degree to try to lend greater authority to their creationist views, and their propensity for being IDers derives from the same place as all the others – their religious beliefs.

I’ve formerly said that engineers and lawyers seem to be excessively creationist, but now I think we just notice them because there are so few creationist biologists.

Sorr I know this is off topic, but.…

Any indication on when one of you guys are going to look at Wells new article that Dembski has trumpetted on his site recently?

What struck me about the V_ATPase motor was the symmetry breaking that seems to be present in all these systems. It wouldn’t surprise me if the symmetry breaking itself was necessary to maintain a metastable state that permitted rotation: keep symmetry in the whole thing, and you get stuck in too deep a potential energy well. I wonder if there’s some sort of rotatory mechanism in DNA packaging into viral procapsids–the DNA itself is nicely built for a rotational motion (either of the DNA or the surrounding machinery), and twisting the DNA as you insert it might go a long way toward solving the fundamental problem of how you precisely fit all that DNA so neatly inside of the viral capsid.

I’ll see if I can digest a couple more of those articles–they’re fascinating! My Ph.D. proposal is coming up in 16 days, though, so I’m a bit crunched for time.

Comment #29211

Posted by Steve on May 9, 2005 04:22 PM (e) (s)

Sorr I know this is off topic, but . …

Any indication on when one of you guys are going to look at Wells new article that Dembski has trumpetted on his site recently?

Hey “Steve”, if you’re going to use my name, don’t write such godawful sentences. Let’s rewrite that:

Do you guys plan to comment on the Wells article, mentioned on Dembski’s blog?

hey now, calm down, we’re all steve here.

Some Steve or other asked

Any indication on when one of you guys are going to look at Wells new article that Dembski has trumpetted on his site recently?

Wells published what looks like an early version of that paper in ISCID’s Progress in Complexity, Information, and Design. The only interest one might have in it is how much of the previously published material constitutes the Rivista article. Judging by the Abstract of the Rivista paper there’s considerable … erm … overlap. That’s not unique in ID circles: as Wesley showed some time ago, Meyer provides a model.

RBH

From the article:

because the existence of even one intelligently designed feature in living things (at least prior to human beings) would overturn the Darwinian theory of evolution that currently dominates Western biology.

Regrettably (for Wells) this does not follow in the slightest. Unless he can demonstrate that all features of living things are designed, then the Modern Synthesis is alive and well.

Is he simply indulging in rhetoric for the sake of rhetoric? (Or would that be a rhetorical question?)

Regrettably (for Wells) this does not follow in the slightest. Unless he can demonstrate that all features of living things are designed, then the Modern Synthesis is alive and well.

Depends on what point you’re trying to make. If you characterize the opposition as saying “there are no gods” then finding even ONE god-designed feature kills that characterization. If you characterize the opposition as saying “god designed everything”, then finding even one natural thing does the trick.

I find Wells to hold the stronger position here. Science really does presume that it can investigate any aspect of the objective universe whatsoever, and science wouldn’t last a minute if this presumption were changed to “some stuff is natural, some is magic, and we can’t tell which is which.” This would invalidate everything we know!

So I think Wells got it right and RGD got it wrong. If anything can be determined to have been designed, we’d have to re-examine everything to extract the “degree of designedness” which could well be lurking in every part of life. The basic god-of-the-gaps is an intermittent god, who magicks some stuff (the stuff we can’t explain yet) but leaves the rest alone. Why doesn’t science embrace this position? I submit that the instant science did so, it wouldn’t be science anymore.

Wells doesn’t say so here, but his position is more generalized than he admits. All of science would collapse at the first determination of genuine causeless magic, unless that magic could be compartmentalized narrowly enough.

Flint Wrote:

Science really does presume that it can investigate any aspect of the objective universe whatsoever, and science wouldn’t last a minute if this presumption were changed to “some stuff is natural, some is magic, and we can’t tell which is which.” This would invalidate everything we know! […] If anything can be determined to have been designed, we’d have to re-examine everything to extract the “degree of designedness” which could well be lurking in every part of life.

Compare the following quote from Richard Dawkins from a Salon.com interview:

It’s an interesting thought that in some remote time in the future, people may look back on the 20th and 21st centuries as a watershed in evolution - the time when evolution stopped being an undirected force and became a design force. Already, for the past few centuries, maybe even millennia, agriculturalists have in a sense designed the evolution of domestic animals like pigs and cows and chickens. That’s increasing and we’re getting more technologically clever at that by manipulating not just the selection part of evolution but also the mutation part. That will be very different; one of the great features of biological evolution up to now is that there is no foresight. In general, evolution is a blind process. … It never governs what happens now on the basis on what will happen in the future in the way that human design undoubtedly does. But now it is possible to breed a new kind of pig, or chicken, which has such and such qualities.

That never happened in natural evolution; there was never a “let’s temporarily get worse in order to get better, let’s go down into the valley in order to get over to the other side and up onto the opposite mountain.” So yes, I think it well may be that we’re living in a time when evolution is suddenly starting to become intelligently designed.

http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2[…]ndex_np.html

Imagine a biologist looking at some biological fact in the future, and not being able to tell whether it is the product of design or not. Would science collapse?

Finley

Imagine a biologist looking at some biological fact in the future, and not being able to tell whether it is the product of design or not. Would science collapse?

No.

GWW Wrote:

No.

Touche.

Finley:

Imagine a biologist looking at some biological fact in the future, and not being able to tell whether it is the product of design or not. Would science collapse?

I think nothing can be so clearly said, that it can’t be misinterpreted with enough determination.

I would answer that biology would not collapse for the same reason that geology doesn’t collapse despite archaeologists continually digging up stuff clearly designed by people. The key is, we know the nature and purpose of the designer. Yes, there are cases where archaeologists dig up unidentifiable stuff which *might* be natural, and opinion is divided.

There was at one time a long discussion on the ARN board along these lines. The ID proponents made the claim that it is possible in principle to distinguish designed from natural, because some companies are able to determine with high accuracy whether or not a given plant has been genetically modified. But of course, this wasn’t any Dembskian generic design filter – the process was to take all known genetic modifications and compare the gene sequence under test against all of them. If a match was found, the answer was yes, GM. If no match, the answer was “undetermined”. In other words, it COULD be designed, but if so, the design parameters hadn’t been patented or published to the knowledge of the testing outfit.

Now imagine some far future time, following many millennia of genetic modification of nearly everything, after which all records were lost. So biologists study the gene sequences of all living things once again. If they had no idea artificial modifications had ever been performed, could they positively draw this conclusion? I think they’d be able to do no better than a strong suspicion, and I think this suspicion would be based almost entirely on intimate knowledge of the proposed designer, namely people.

Even so, I think the likelihood of a false positive would be essentially the same as a false negative. We would be guessing. I predict the newly-developed biological theories at that time would be plain wrong in important ways. Probably, this would reduce the accuracy of predictions based on those theories. But even a correct theory, that “the ancients did stuff beyond our comprehension”, would be too unhelpful to be of any use. Instead, we’d treat the machinations of the ancients the way we currently treat those of the gods – that by diligent study and experiment, we are learning their intents and their methods, and meanwhile they are not actively manipulating our investigations in any way visible to us.

Flint,

If we imagine a future time “following many millennia of genetic modification of nearly everything, after which all records were lost,” wouldn’t that lead to the presumption that “some stuff is natural, some is designed, and we can’t tell which is which”? Would that presumption under those circumstances “invalidate everything we know”?

Depends on what point you’re trying to make. If you characterize the opposition as saying “there are no gods” then finding even ONE god-designed feature kills that characterization. If you characterize the opposition as saying “god designed everything”, then finding even one natural thing does the trick.

I find Wells to hold the stronger position here. Science really does presume that it can investigate any aspect of the objective universe whatsoever, and science wouldn’t last a minute if this presumption were changed to “some stuff is natural, some is magic, and we can’t tell which is which.” This would invalidate everything we know!

So I think Wells got it right and RGD got it wrong. If anything can be determined to have been designed, we’d have to re-examine everything to extract the “degree of designedness” which could well be lurking in every part of life.

Nah. I have to disagree. If we discovered that a sick person was actually afflicted by disease because God decided to do that, would it overturn all of modern medical science? Of course not. At worst, it would mean that biology explains disease most of the time with some occasional “goddidit” moments. That’s pretty much the same situation for biological history. If there were moments of “goddidit”, it doesn’t invalidate Darwinian evolution. Keeping that in mind, Dembski’s statement:

because the existence of even one intelligently designed feature in living things (at least prior to human beings) would overturn the Darwinian theory of evolution that currently dominates Western biology.

Is about as overreaching and false as this one: because the existence of even one [divinely diseased person] would overturn the [modern germ theory] that currently dominates Western biology.

I think a point raised by the future possibility of intelligent design (e.g., Dawkins) is that non-intelligent and intelligent causes are equally inscrutable. That is, given any particular biological fact, it is impossible to determine from the fact alone whether it is the product of intelligence or not.

Finley

If we imagine a future time “following many millennia of genetic modification of nearly everything, after which all records were lost,” wouldn’t that lead to the presumption that “some stuff is natural, some is designed, and we can’t tell which is which”? Would that presumption under those circumstances “invalidate everything we know”?

Of course fxcking not.

Also, your imagined scenario is different from imagining a future time when mysterious alien beings descend to earth in an invisible spaceship bigger than the moon and tell us that every living thing that ever lived on earth was designed and created by them.

This sort of worthless garbage is exactly what the ID peddlers – and some inarticulate self-proclaimed “philosophers” – are asking scientists to accomodate and “consider.”

Now Finley, please, do us all a favor and dry up and blow away. Your incessant playground-grade philosophizing makes me ashamed of the human race.

I think a point raised by the future possibility of intelligent design (e.g., Dawkins) is that non-intelligent and intelligent causes are equally inscrutable. That is, given any particular biological fact, it is impossible to determine from the fact alone whether it is the product of intelligence or not.

From a distance, that sounds reasonable. But, try repeating those words when you start looking at things in a detailed way and you run into trouble. This philosophy denies the possibility that we could ever possibly know causes of anything. For example, why does disease occur? Is it just bad luck and unsanitary behavior, or is it divinely/demonicly caused? Based on your philosophy, we would have to say, “non-intelligent and intelligent causes are equally inscrutable”. Of course, try to maintain that idea in the face of dramatically reduced infection rates when doctors wash their hands, and it becomes hard to maintain the “people are diseased because some intelligent being afflicted them” idea. Noting the falling rates of disease with better sanatation, and our increasing ability to cure disease, and it becomes harder to maintain the “god causes disease” idea (afterall, how is it possible that we can cure a divinely caused disease? Further, are we deliberately disobeying God by curing it and, therefore, worthy of punishment?) I think you’ll have to face the fact that causes are not fundamentally inscrutable. Your statement that “it is impossible to determine from the fact alone whether it is the product of intelligence or not” obscures the fact that it’s possible to get very good evidence for and against intellgent causes.

Finley,

I think we are in agreement here, but looking at it (as usual) from different directions. I was trying to convey that if scientific findings are inherently unreliable, if they don’t hold still for reasons impossible to identify, then science can’t work.

And this is the light in which I considered Dembski’s statement: That a finding true to day would be false tomorrow, because some divine influence changed the rules overnight.

Would that presumption under those circumstances “invalidate everything we know”?

Here, I’m voting yes. At least, I personally would be uncomfortable with the idea that “SOME of what we think we know is valid, some of what we think we know is also known to be wrong, but we can’t tell the difference.” Let’s say you became aware that someone had implanted memories in your brain, and you couldn’t know which memories matched your past experience and which were imaginary. Wouldn’t this knowledge cause you to question ALL your memories?

BC:

because the existence of even one [divinely diseased person] would overturn the [modern germ theory] that currently dominates Western biology.

I would substitute a different word for ‘overturn’ which I think is poorly chosen. What would become the case is that germ theory would be spotty and intermittent as an explanation. Sometimes it works, sometimes it’s wrong, we can’t tell one time from another except by guessing. If we knew for certain that inexplicable divine diseases just happened, I really do think this would change medicine as we know it.

I think Finley said this quite well: absent any context, intelligent or natural-feedback design processes can’t be distinguished. Not even in the case of glaring, obvious inconsistencies – it could mean the intrusion of some anomalous intelligence, or it could mean the scope of our theories is too narrow.

But I notice none of our scientific theories have any “except for the exceptions” clauses. Theories try to explain ALL the data, and not skip over the inconvenient bits. Theory (as I understand it) explicitly does NOT say “here is the best-fit explanation for some phenomena, in which set this case may reside unless it’s one of those cases our theory ignores.” Science is in the business of generalizing, and not dreaming up a new theory case-by-case in order to exclude the magical cases. Moments of “goddidit” I think really does undermine Darwinian evolution – we would have to modify our theory to “god did SOME of it, but we don’t know which parts, but our theory about how the rest came about is still perfectly good for what it applies to, whichever cases those are.”

Maybe you’re satisfied with that “theory” but I think it stinks.

BC tries to keep everyone from throwing stuff in the sandbox, averring that science might work:

most of the time with some occasional “goddidit” moments.

BC doesn’t think this is a bad thing for science. I do, since s/he completely misunderstands what science is. Science seeks to find regular principles, such as the conservation of energy or planetary motion, that govern the observable world. Many religions believe that particular events may violate these laws (think Joshua at Jericho where the sun stops) but they call them miracles. As Ruse pointed out last night, Dembski and the whole IDC crowd are trying to evoke miracles, and they aren’t a proper area of study for science simply because they are not a regular event that conforms to physical law. Or do you really think the Resurrection is really some quantum-mechanical tunneling event, or the Virgin Birth, a weird case of parthenogenesis?

Alas, BC, what you’re throwing isn’t sand; apparently the neighborhood cat did its business here, and you’ve grabbed a handful.

Incidentally, did Bill Dembski accept common descent last night on Nightline??? His new employers might not be pleased.

BD:

Of course, try to maintain that idea in the face of dramatically reduced infection rates when doctors wash their hands, and it becomes hard to maintain the “people are diseased because some intelligent being afflicted them” idea.

But you are presuming that God did NOT do it, which is why washing their hands is effective. I would presume that in Finley’s imaginary world, sanitation would make little difference at all. In fact, the ONLY thing that would make ANY difference in rates of infection would be the proper prayers and rituals. And (of course) no cause-and-effect relationship between the prayers and rituals and the infection rates could ever be identified, because that’s not supernatural.

For example, why does disease occur? Is it just bad luck and unsanitary behavior, or is it intelligently caused?

In any instance of disease, the question can be reasonably asked without talk of demons and gods. Is a disease an engineered weapon, e.g., or the product of unintelligent causes? Could you tell from the disease alone?

In any instance of disease, the question can be reasonably asked without talk of demons and gods. Is a disease an engineered weapon, e.g., or the product of unintelligent causes?

Next time you’ve got a bad sore throat, Finley, call your health care provider and ask them if it’s reasonable to believe it was caused by an “engineered weapon”.

Sadly, this thread started out as an interesting one about Bill Dembski. Now it’s turned into 9th grade biology class for science flunkie Michael Finley.

In any instance of disease, the question can be reasonably asked without talk of demons and gods. Is a disease an engineered weapon, e.g., or the product of unintelligent causes? Could you tell from the disease alone?

You’re changing the subject from “Why and how do people get infected with a particular disease? Why does a specific disease show different rates of infection among various population groups? Why are modern rates of infection significantly lower than medival times?” to “What diseases might be products of darwinian evolution versus designed?” My examples made that distinction clear. Raising questions about “Is a disease an engineered weapon, e.g., or the product of unintelligent causes? Could you tell from the disease alone?” dodges the point I’m making, which is “there are good correlations between disease infection rates, disease survival, sanitary practices, and medicine which strongly suggests that some theories about disease are just plain wrong. Given the correlations, it would be fair to say that disease is not being caused, for example, by a witch doctor, divine intelligence, or demons.” I realize you want to obscure this fact.

BC doesn’t think this is a bad thing for science. I do, since s/he completely misunderstands what science is.

No, I’m saying that occasional “goddidit” moments does not invalidate science. I never claimed that “goddidit” was somehow incorporated into science. In my view, there is a landscape of truth. Science covers part of that landscape. Other things (even the possibility of God’s intervention, alien intervention, etc) covers other parts of that landscape. Now, some people would like to say, “These things are totally distinct, and therefore, do not affect each other.” That’s totally false. My examples of disease transmition show that some theories of disease transmition are invalidated by science (e.g. “all diseases are to be ascribed to demons” – St.Augustine). For emphasis, I’ll say it another way: science can and does invalidate some theological beliefs. There are areas where science “bumps up” against theological beliefs. If life on earth were created through special creation 6000 years ago, science would simply acknowledge that God’s intervention happened and mark that territory as “goddidit” (i.e. not science). But, the fact of the matter is that when we contemplate the origin of the species, we aren’t treading into “goddidit” territory. The non-theistic darwinian evolutionary process explains things quite well – much to the chagin of theists who want their diety to play a role in human origins. For them, it’s a theological problem: “If we are created by blind forces, then how can we say God has a purpose for humanity? How can God have a purpose for my life?” I can’t say I think much of that line of thought.

I’m starting to share GWW’s chronic contemptuous impatience. The question “what would things be like if things were different” loses its flavor after very little chewing. As BC keeps pointing out, things are NOT different. Science works. Presumably if the supernatural worked, science could not work, since scientific explanations would not be reliable or effective. Since science in fact works, if there IS any supernatural it can’t be detected, it doesn’t interfere with our methods, it is not required to explain anything, and can be safely ignored without the slightest concern – provided it’s not required as part of a belief contrary to observation. Fortunately, that requirement can be cured.

So the practical answer to Dembski’s question about whether “the existence of even one intelligently designed feature in living things (at least prior to human beings) would overturn the Darwinian theory of evolution” is, show us one and we’ll examine it. In the meantime, we will study what CAN be shown.

Rhetorical Question for creationists like Mike Finley:

Imagine, hundreds of years of science notwithstanding, ID “Theorists” succeed. They create a perfect algorithm which can distinguish designed objects from nondesigned objects. Applying this algorithm to objects in nature must result in one of the following scenarioes:

1 everything is designed 2 nothing is designed 3 some things are designed, some aren’t

If 1 is the result, Behe and Dembski are completely wrong. Rocks aren’t IC, rocks don’t have CSI, yet they were designed. If 2 is the result, ID is wrong.

Say 3 is the result. Some things were designed, and some weren’t. In that case, if the designer is your christian god, who made everything, god made things which he didn’t design–he made them randomly with no thought.

So which do you believe? Are Behe and Dembski wrong, Is ID entirely wrong, or did god make some things without thinking?

I think a point raised by the future possibility of intelligent design (e.g., Dawkins) is that non-intelligent and intelligent causes are equally inscrutable. That is, given any particular biological fact, it is impossible to determine from the fact alone whether it is the product of intelligence or not.

Are bubonic plague bacteria the product of intelligence?

Why or why not.

Remember that “scientific method” thingie? In all your pseudophilosophical arm-waving, you haven’t mentioned it, even once.

Why is that?

For the zillionth time, let me remind everybody that intelligent design is a natural phenomenon when human beings practice it. A filter that distinguishes human products from other objects would not thereby detect anything supernatural since we aren’t angels or gods.

There’s a decent collection of links here related to documenting the freakazoids and extremists who fund the Disclaimery Institute.

http://columbianwatch.blogspot.com/[…]/insert.html

Stick “vrwc-in-vancouver-4” where it says “insert.”

Tinyurl for that link: http://tinyurl.com/9z454

lol. I notice that Dave Scott stole a line i used to comment on his intractability here. at the end of his incoherent rant in “support” of Dembski’s drivel, he said:

“Denial is more than just a river in Egypt.”

indeed, Dave, indeed.

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This page contains a single entry by PvM published on May 8, 2005 7:25 PM.

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