Intelligent Design flunked: Denyse O’Leary What exactly is the “design” part of “intelligent design”?

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On Uncommon Descent Denyse O’Leary asks a question, every ID creationist should ask, and be able to answer: “What exactly is the “design” part of “intelligent design”?”

For an author of a book on Intelligent Design as well as a ‘teacher’ of a pastoral course on Intelligent Design, Denyse seems to be rather unfamiliar with one of the foundational concepts of Intelligent Design. Well, no fear, PvM is here.

Del Ratzsch Wrote:

>Design is the “set theoretic complement of the disjunction regularity-or-chance. “

Or in layman terms design is one or more of the following 1) the empty set 2) ignorance 3) a religious concept founded in the supernatural

Del himself pointed out that

“I do not wish to play down or denigrate what Dembski has done. There is much of value in the Design Ingerence. But I think that some aspects of even the limited task Dembski set for himsel still remain to be tamed.”

and

“That Dembski is not employing the robust, standard, agency-derived conception of design that most of his supporters and many of his critics have assumed seems clear.”

No kidding.

Denyse could also have used the ISCID definition:

Design:

A four-part process by which a designer forms a designed object: (1) A designer conceives a purpose or goal. (2) To accomplish that purpose, the designer forms a plan. (3) To execute the plan, the designer specifies building materials and assembly instructions. (4) The designer or some surrogate applies the assembly instructions to the building materials. What emerges is a designed object, and the designer is successful to the degree that the object fulfills the designer’s purpose.

But that seems an even worse explanation than the ones she proposes.

Once ID proponents come to realize how flimsy the definition of ‘design’ as proposed by Intelligent Design really is, there will be no more ‘controversy’.

112 Comments

There are people who honestly think that Dembski would dare to deign to give a definition of the “design” inferred in “Intelligent Design”? How silly.

And if it turns out that the human brain operates by regularity or chance, would Del Ratzsch then claim that humans are incapable of design?

Remember also that Dembski has defined design as “a process that selects between alternatives” (my paraphrase because I no longer have the reference). Some of you may recall a poster on UD who pointed out that this would empower a seive as a designer, and who promptly received heaps of abuse for it. It also includes NS as a design process.

And if it turns out that the human brain operates by regularity or chance, would Del Ratzsch then claim that humans are incapable of design?

Del merely described Dembski’s formulation of ‘design’

Nigel Wrote:

Remember also that Dembski has defined design as “a process that selects between alternatives” (my paraphrase because I no longer have the reference).

Yes, sounds very much like natural selection doesn’t it. It was in one of his “Alice” papers.

Do ID proponents even familiarize themselves with what ID is all about or is it sufficient to them that it restores the proper role of Christ?

Once ID proponents come to realize how flimsy the definition of ‘design’ as proposed by Intelligent Design really is, there will be no more ‘controversy’.

As the concept of “Intelligent Design” spreads, more people will attempt to search out design, identify it, define it, and understand it. Is it the beginning of the end for ID, or just the beginning of the realization of Stephen Hawking’s vision?

“However, if we discover a complete theory, it should in time be understandable in broad principle by everyone, not just by a few scientists. Then we shall all, philosophers, scientists and just ordinary people, be able to take part in the discussion of the question of why it is that we and the universe exist. If we find the answer to that, it would be the ultimate triumph of human reason – for then we should know the mind of God.” A Brief History of Time (p.193).

for then we should know the mind of God

Apparently John Kelly has never heard of a metaphor.

John, that’s a good point.

Fortunately for all of us, I think what Prof. Hawking had in mind was that people would find the complete theory through science, not wishful thinking.

A four-part process by which a designer forms a designed object: (1) A designer conceives a purpose or goal. (2) To accomplish that purpose, the designer forms a plan. (3) To execute the plan, the designer specifies building materials and assembly instructions. (4) The designer or some surrogate applies the assembly instructions to the building materials. What emerges is a designed object, and the designer is successful to the degree that the object fulfills the designer’s purpose.

Even if one forgives the blatant “the dog ate my homework” excuse of “ID is not a mechanistic theory,” those 4 statements scream for all sorts of testable questions of “when”: When was the first design conceived? When was the first design actuated into a chemical system to make it IC? When was the design actuated to produce the first flagellum, the first malaria parasite, the first modern human?

I can understand why anti-evolution activists evade the question, and why their mostly innumerate target audience doesn’t think of asking them, but why in God’s name aren’t more critics hammering them on those questions?

PvM Wrote:

Do ID proponents even familiarize themselves with what ID is all about or is it sufficient to them that it restores the proper role of Christ?

Since Muhammad is as good (or better given the analogies to human designers) candidate for the latter, it behooves them to do the former.

John, that’s a good point.

How so? The concept of “Intelligent Design” only spreads among the religious, and does not lead to searching out, identifying, defining, or understanding design, and Hawking was talking about plain old materialistic science, not ID, possibly leading to a full understanding of the universe we exist in – “the mind of God” is, after Einstein, a metaphor for the rules of the universe; it has nothing to do with deities or actual minds.

Just think if they had hashed out all of this before they claimed to be able to teach ID in the science class?

Btw, this is the same philosopher of science Del Ratzsch who wrote:

“There is no compelling conceptual basis for any blanket prohibition in exploring applications or implications of the idea of supernatural design within the scientific context. Some design theories may be inapproriate in some instances, but that is perfectly consistent with others being in principle legitimate. It is, of course, perfectly possible that such attempts could end up wholly empty, but since every scientific research program faces at least that possibility, that hardly constitutes grounds for pre-emptive prohibitions.”

“(God-of-the-) Gap objections seem mistaken on all counts–conceptual, logical, empirical, and historical.”

– from Nature, Design, and Science, c2001.

But that’s not the kind of Del Ratzsch stuff y’all want to hear, is it? Only want to hear the parts that sound good to you.

.…Ohhhh well!

FL

Nigel D Wrote:

John, that’s a good point.

Poppers Ghost Wrote:

How so? The concept of “Intelligent Design” only spreads among the religious, and does not lead to searching out, identifying, defining, or understanding design, and Hawking was talking about plain old materialistic science, not ID, possibly leading to a full understanding of the universe we exist in – “the mind of God” is, after Einstein, a metaphor for the rules of the universe; it has nothing to do with deities or actual minds.

PG, it was a good point because it made me think about the issue from a different angle.

Plus, but less importantly, it provided us with an opportunity to enjoy Stephen Hawking’s prose.

FL Wrote:

But that’s not the kind of Del Ratzsch stuff y’all want to hear, is it? Only want to hear the parts that sound good to you.

Well done, FL. You have completely and utterly missed the point of the post.

The point was not that Ratzch’s definition of “design” was brilliant, it was that it is useless, unless you admit that ID is religiously-based.

(Then you become faced with the problem of trying to do science on God, which is kind of an impossibility by definition. God is not accessible to measurement, recording or objective observation. In short, he cannot be probed.)

So, what do you consider to be the relevance to the blog entry of Ratzch’s bleating about science’s objections to hypotheses about supernatural design? Specifically in relation to Denise O’Leary’s question about the definition of “design”?

It’s all practical FL. Conceptual basis just means science cannot formally exclude the possibility. If you stick to precise definitions of natural and supernatural there is no problem. The supernatural is everything that CANNOT EVER be explored scientifically. The natural is everything else. Perhaps Del Ratzsch theological training was poor so he doesn’t understand why those definitions are used. If you permit scientific testing of God under your theological views he is no longer omnipotent for one particular issue. And the second is that you are also then forced into having a God that exists in an ever shrinking sphere of influence. Every child with a good Lutheran education understands this.

The practical part comes in historically. The motivation to understand the universe is a common thread between modern scientists and religious scholars. In the past this common motivation lead people to both occupations simultaneously. The separation into philosophically distinct methods of inquiry came only after it was demonstrated that trying to explain the universe without using supernatural explanations would be fruitful. Particularly it was understood that those explanations were often a blunt instrument that inhibited creative thinking about the natural processes. In pure simplicity we tried for thousands of years to do science experiments with the supernatural as a possibility and realized it didn’t work, which caused us to look at our underlying assumptions and precisely define what can and cannot be addressed scientifically.

Anyone else notice that FL has continued to conveniently refused to define “specified complexity” and “irreducible complexity”, as well as neglected to demonstrate how quantifying these two concepts can explain the “design” of organisms?

FL, like nearly every creobot who shows up here, is only a sniper. He excretes something dishonest from time to time, and then ignores all subsequent corrections and requests for an actual position. Maybe he doesn’t quite grasp how his “efforts” look when people claim he cannot build a case and challenge him to prove them wrong, and he simply vanishes. Then shows up elsewhere with an unrelated dishonest quip he fails to support. What he’s demonstrating is the core substance of creationism. That’s all there is to it, folks. Make dishonest and misleading claims, then run.

Anyone else notice that FL has pasted a bit of text that says absolutely NOTHING to advance any case for anything, and added no commentary or explanation of his own? Looks like at least one creationist is acting on nothing but random impulses…

And speaking of random impulses, it seems the ID movement is now hiding behind a cover of pure fuzzwords. Some examples:

…set theoretic complement of the disjunction regularity-or-chance.

…robust, standard, agency-derived conception of design… (What “agency” are they talking about here? The CIA?)

This is the kind of pointy-haired word-salad we laugh at in the “Dilbert” comic strip. Call it “drivelectical immaterialism.”

Popper’s Ghost:

Apparently John Kelly has never heard of a metaphor.

The metaphor is EXACTLY what I was pointing to. You can insert your own “whatever” in there, but the rest of the statement still stands strong.

Popper’s Ghost:

The concept of “Intelligent Design” only spreads among the religious, and does not lead to searching out, identifying, defining, or understanding design, and Hawking was talking about plain old materialistic science, not ID, possibly leading to a full understanding of the universe we exist in – “the mind of God” is, after Einstein, a metaphor for the rules of the universe; it has nothing to do with deities or actual minds.

If Hawking was only talking about “plain old materialistic science”, then why does he make inference to the “mind of God”; even as a metaphor? Why does he address “everyone” and not just a few scientists, but both philosophers and scientists?

Why does he say that finding the answer would be “the ultimate triumph of human reason”, and not the ultimate triumph of Science?

It is precisely his “Intelligent” mode of thinking, his search for PURPOSE, a point of origin, a whole containing all parts, that appears to guide his inquiry into the secrets of the universe. He obviously believes that the universe can be understood through a “complete theory”, which is his GOD.

I don’t think you are going to say that Stephen Hawking isn’t a Scientist, but what you are saying is that his mode of thinking is religious and cannot lead to searching out, identifying, defining, or understanding design.

Does this type of reasoning require the belief in “God”? No, but it requires a belief in something that is greater than Nothing.

Here is the beginning of a good definition of Design for you: Design is that which is directed by Something and not by Nothing.

Here is the beginning of a good definition of Design for you: Design is that which is directed by Something and not by Nothing.

Excellent start.

Natural Selection is Something. It is not Nothing.

As far as I can tell, ID is just bafflegab repeated ad infinitum.

What is design, specified complexity, and their other terms?

Until they can define their terms and come up with an objective way to measure them, it is just meaningless, gibberish.

From a thread yesterday, how many design units are in a grass plant? How many Specified Complexity units? How did one measure those? Is it reproducable by others in the field independently?

Even then, that doesn’t get them too far. Evolution, RM + NS is a proficient designer. This is a known, empirically determined fact. Us, what is all around us, and all that came before was the result of evolution, natural processes acting over billions of years.

To prove that a supernatural entity rather than known natural processes were involved is to prove that god(s) exists. No one has been able to prove that in our entire civilized history. The quacks at DI aren’t going to be the first.

They are destined to run around in their own, very small circles.

FL Wrote:

quoting Del Ratzsch: It is, of course, perfectly possible that such attempts could end up wholly empty, but since every scientific research program faces at least that possibility, that hardly constitutes grounds for pre-emptive prohibitions.”

And there have been no pre-emptive prohibitions on ID becoming scientific, it’s just that ID has failed to become a scientific research programme. I agree with Del, of course, the ‘sad’ reality is that ID has failed because of the way it ‘defined’ ‘design’.

Thanks FL for this excellent quote.

Design is that which is directed by Something and not by Nothing.

That definition is even worse than “set theoretic complement of regularity or chance.” At least that latter definition attempts to rule out evolution as an explanation for the origin of species, whereas your definition does no such thing, and would even encompass evolution as design.

I know that this is nit-picking, but …

If these are the sort of definitions that they are considering for the word “design”, how do they intend to distinguish “intelligent design”?

I know that this is nit-picking, but …

If these are the sort of definitions that they are considering for the word “design”, how do they intend to distinguish “intelligent design”?

Bait and switch, “Intelligent design is the assertion that “certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection.”

In other words, while in the definition of design, the concept of ‘directed’ process is absent, intelligent design claims that when natural processes have been eliminated, that which remains should be considered ‘design’. Intelligent Design is the claim that ‘God did it’ just in more words to avoid the obvious fact that it has to be one or more supernatural entities.

As Dembski observes

“Intelligent design is just the Logos theology of John’s Gospel restated in the idiom of information theory,”

Intelligent Design became the replacement for creationism and creation due to historical failures in the court to get creationism accepted as a scientific alternative.

The problem of course is that in the definition of ‘design’ there is nothing about ‘directed’ or ‘purpose’, which are unwarranted inferences.

By conflation and equivocation ID can now draw in the unexpecting Christian and pretend that it’s ok, ID is all about science (wink wink) and many Christian become victim of this scientifically vacuous and theologically risky concept which exposes their faith to disproof, handing powerful weapons to the ‘enemies of Christianity’.

Follies.…

If Hawking was only talking about “plain old materialistic science”, then why does he make inference to the “mind of God”; even as a metaphor? Why does he address “everyone” and not just a few scientists, but both philosophers and scientists?

And why is the Higg’s boson often called “the God particle”?

Why don’t you try to learn a little about what you’re talking about, instead of blathering away ignorantly? Of course I do know the placeholder answer, which is that IDists do that constantly (IOW, if you were capable of doing science you’d not be IDists), but the real question is, why is it that none you has the combination of education and intelligence to broach issues in science?

Glen D http://tinyurl.com/2kxyc7

FL Wrote: quoting Del Ratzsch: It is, of course, perfectly possible that such attempts could end up wholly empty, but since every scientific research program faces at least that possibility, that hardly constitutes grounds for pre-emptive prohibitions.”

Intelligent Design is old, over 150 years old. It predates Darwin. They have accomplished nothing in that century and a half. Just going in circles.

A “research program” that hasn’t even gotten off the ground in 150 years has obvious problems. We all know it is just creationism dressed up for the present century anyway. It might as well be consigned to the dustbin of history with phlogiston and the demon theory of disease.

If this is pointing out the obvious, perhaps it is still best to state what is going on plainly: The only issue that informs the “definitions” of design that IDists come up with is their compulsion to define life as having been designed, contrary to established meanings of the term “design”.

They know very little about design, and even less about life. What they know regarding the latter is that they are certain, due to their religious proclivities, that organisms are part of the set of “designed objects.” But because life has none of the indications of design that humanly designed objects do (thus human-made designs are properly the basis for any definition of design–which IDists must deny to the bitter end), and has all of the indications predicted by non-teleological evolution, their “definitions” are extremely vague, and nearly always predicated on the false dilemma which assumes that if it didn’t evolve (complete with cheesy “proofs” that life didn’t “evolve naturally”), it was designed.

Thus, they distort science at the most basic level, at the understanding of words. Real, conventional definitions of design will not do, for the simple fact that they could never encompass life within their definitions of “the designed.” Hence their assault is not only upon science, but more sinisterly, upon the manner in which humans understand and communicate ideas.

Glen D http://tinyurl.com/2kxyc7

And after all will the IDists explain how are you going to discern between regularity and chance and how is that different from NS? Aside, don’t the IDist realize that insisting in ID by necessity requires a Designer and that will expose Designer/God to testing and possibly disproof? How moronic can these guys be?

(Here’s a question you IDers have been dodging for some time now: when liquid water freezes into the very orderly – and sometimes intricate, fascinating and beautiful – crystal patterns known as “snow,” “frost” and “ice,” where does all that “complex information” we see in the crystal structure come from? Surely not from “purely chemical or physical antecedents,” eh?)

Ummm, Raging Bee, this one HAS been answered before, both from William Dembski and/or Charles Thaxton and/or both. Safe to say that you missed it, mmm.….?

No time for me to google things for you. Very briefly: the snowflake displays complexity, yes, intricate order, yes – but the snowflake does NOT display specification, and moreover, we know that a scientist COULD point to physical and chemical principles governing the freezing of water, as the origin of the observed snowflake complexity and intricacy. (IOW, he could point to “necessity” or natural laws.)

In contrast, Complex Specified Information, the kind that would point to an origin OTHER THAN chance or necessity (natural laws/principles) has to show BOTH complexity AND specification. CSI is NOT like a snowflake, but like the sentences in your post and mine. Too high a level of BOTH complexity and specification TOGETHER, to be attribute to either chance or necessity, too high to be attributable to undirected natural causes. The snowflake doesn’t have the CSI; your post DOES have the CSI. The difference is clear.

******

So, do you know of ANY intelligent design advocates who claim that the snowflake’s beauty is an example of Dembski’s 3-point ID hypothesis? Nope, you don’t. And now you know why they don’t. Hope this helps!

FL

FL; 1) Please explain why a complete and total understanding of abiogenesis is required to observe and understand evolutionary trends in known lineages of organisms, including fungi, orchids, ferns, daisies, wheat, cattle, sheep, horses, brontotheres, clams, snails, oysters, parrots, tulips, and bacteria? and 2) Why do you persist in refusing to demonstrate the alleged predictive and explanatory powers of Intelligent Design?

But what I’m interested in, and what seems totally unsubstantiated after much arguing in other places, is this claim that Dr. Ratzsch’s statement leads to (3).

(I think the first two items are completely wrong also, but the media and courtroom wars tend to focus primarily on the issue of “3”, so that would be my first priority as well.)

How does Ratzsch’s statement RATIONALLY lead to (3)? Where’s the evidence that it does?

(2) is self evident, and typical of a gaps approach chosen by ID (1) is a logical possibility since what remains after regularity and chance processes have been eliminated must be supernatural or the empty set. It’s clear that ID hopes to capture the supernatural here and in fact has been redefining intelligence to be ‘supernatural’, any intelligence.

(3) relates to (1) where that which remains when all natural processes of regularity and chance have been eliminated is logically the empty set or the supernatural.

Take all this together and combine it with the history of ID and the conclusion, as the courts have shown, is irrefutable that ID lacks scientific content and is irreparably linked to religion.

FL performs some nice bait and switch. First of all, he pretends that ID has positive predictions and in fact ID claims that it is an argument to best explanation but when asked for this explanation ID remains mute

In other words, I do NOT have to show that ID is a “better hypothesis” than evolution in order to show that ID is scientific If we go by the scientific method, a hypothesis CAN in fact be scientific, even if it comes in second best to a superior scientific hypothesis. (Wouldn’t you agree?)

Since ID is however based on ‘the best hypothesis is wrong’, it is not even the second best hypothesis, it merely denies that the best hypothesis is correct.

FL then pretends that ID must be scientific because people try to disprove it. Remember that in order to make this case, FL has to show that its prediction is in any way relevant to the concept of ID.

FL suggests that ID has argued that information cannot be created both complex and specified by natural processes. In fact, this is not an argument that places ID at risk, it merely places the scientific hypothesis at risk, but then again, that one is a scientific hypothesis and thus risk is inherent. Would showing, as science has done, that natural processes can generate complex specified information, disprove ID? Of course not, that’s because ID makes no positive predictions that would place the concept of ID at risk. In fact, Behe himself has accepted that ID would still be valid, even if the origin and evolution of life were fully explainable in terms of regularity and chance processes.

Seems that the conclusions are that

1. ID is scientifically vacuous and infertile 2. ID ‘predictions’ either do not follow from the foundation of ID or fail to place ID at risk 3. ID is merely a claim that science is tentative and thus open to disproof and design should not be rejected a priori. Science agrees, and has invited ID to present its best hypotheses.

And no more was heard from ID.

PvM says that “what remains after regularity and chance processes have been eliminated must be supernatural or the empty set.”

And yet, in the scientific arena of Origin of Life, we have all seen (in the “Florida” thread) an outstanding Orgel and Crick example, quoted straight from Freeman and Herron’s 2004 evolutionary biology textbook, of how “the supernatural” and “the empty set” are NOT the only rational choices available once you eliminate regularity and chance processes.

You DO in fact have a published plausible non-supernatural possibility regarding the intelligent causative agent.

Therefore you have to honestly admit that Ratzsch’s statement in fact does NOT lead to your claim of (3)—that is, does NOT lead to the 3-point ID hypothesis being “religion” or “religious concept”.

Also, When you say “a gaps approach chosen by ID”, you are clearly in disagreement with Dr. Ratzsch. Gap objections against ID, Ratzsch wrote, are mistaken on all counts— conceptual, logical, empirical, historical.

Now, when you take all THAT together, you get a clear and rational conclusion that ID is non-religious. You gotta admit upfront to that, no?

******

Footnote: Even now, I suspect that some of you evolutionists are praying (to whatever!) that Judge Jones’ decision never gets reviewed or re-considered in ANY other court of law regarding the religion angle, because you know there’ll be Hell To Pay regarding Jones’ erroneous statements!!

FL

PvM says that “what remains after regularity and chance processes have been eliminated must be supernatural or the empty set.”

And yet, in the scientific arena of Origin of Life, we have all seen (in the “Florida” thread) an outstanding Orgel and Crick example, quoted straight from Freeman and Herron’s 2004 evolutionary biology textbook, of how “the supernatural” and “the empty set” are NOT the only rational choices available once you eliminate regularity and chance processes.

From this thread

“Finally, Crick and Orgel (1973) suggest a third possibility, which they call directed panspermia. Earth’s founding microbes were sent here intentionally, aboard a spacecraft, by intelligent extraterrestrials bent on seeding the galaxy with life. Crick and Orgel argue that, within the foreseeable future, it will probably be possible for us to launch such a mission. Therefore, it is at least conceivable that some other civilization actually did so 4 billion years ago.”

Drs. Scott Freeman & Jon Herron, Evolutionary Analysis 3rd Edition, 2004, pg 629.

In other words, regularity and chance processes, just as I proposed. FL is confused as he believes that such intelligent design is the kind of design ID is set up to detect. It of course can only make this claim by equivocating on the term design.

You DO in fact have a published plausible non-supernatural possibility regarding the intelligent causative agent.

Excellent and this possibility falls well within that which ID needs to eliminate.

Therefore you have to honestly admit that Ratzsch’s statement in fact does NOT lead to your claim of (3)—that is, does NOT lead to the 3-point ID hypothesis being “religion” or “religious concept”.

No, I have to conclude that you have fallen for the bait and switch of ID

Also, When you say “a gaps approach chosen by ID”, you are clearly in disagreement with Dr. Ratzsch. Gap objections against ID, Ratzsch wrote, are mistaken on all counts— conceptual, logical, empirical, historical.

Your success rate in quoting Del has been quite poor. Historically speaking ID has done poorly as a gap argument. Now Del Ratzsch made some scathing comments on ID, does it not worry you that you were misled by ID’s claims?

Now, when you take all THAT together, you get a clear and rational conclusion that ID is non-religious. You gotta admit upfront to that, no?

Flawed premises lead to flawed conclusion.

Footnote: Even now, I suspect that some of you evolutionists are praying (to whatever!) that Judge Jones’ decision never gets reviewed or re-considered in ANY other court of law regarding the religion angle, because you know there’ll be Hell To Pay regarding Jones’ erroneous statements!!

ROTFL, Judge Jones’s decision already has been at the foundation of other states being more careful in their attempts to teach ID. And it reached as far as the Council of Europe in their decision.

Judge Jones’ statements are hardly ‘erroneous’, their worst problem is that they are factual.

FL– I’m not getting through, so why don’t you go up to Stanton’s post and read his first question about a hundred times until you understand it?

I’m not surprised that biology textbooks mention the origin of life. I’ll bet they also mention that Darwin sailed on the Beagle. That doesn’t make celestial navigation part of the theory of evolution. Call abiogenesis “pre-biotic evolution” if you want, but it simply has no bearing on the reality of POST-biotic evolution.

And, as long as we’re on the subject of books that start with origins, may I point out that most Christians don’t feel the need to take the first chapter of Genesis literally in order to believe in the New Testament? In your mind, it may be all or nothing, but most people’s minds just don’t work that way– whether they’re evolutionary biologists or mainstream Christians. (Or, as thousands of people are, both.)

FL,

I’m not at all worried about the Jones decision being overturned. After all, the defendants were trapped in their own lies when they tried to claim that their motivations were not religious. They were shown to be lying under oath, some Christians. They never had a chance and they never will.

But you should be worried that the Supreme Court will rule on the issue before the fundies a clear majority. If that happens, the consititution will protect our classrooms from religious fanatics and ID as a political movement will die once and for all.

Even if the Supreme Court does ever rule that ID is science, it still won’t be real science and even if it somehow could be, it will never be good science. It will still be rejected by all real scientists and it still won’t make any predictions or have any evidence in favor of it. And no matter what, it will never, ever have more explanatory or predictive power than MET. Why in the world would you want scch nonsense taught in public schools as if it were science, if not for religious motivation?

Let’s see how Dembski defines all this

The principal characteristic of intelligent causation is directed contingency, or what we call choice. Whenever an intelligent cause acts, it chooses from a range of competing possibilities. This is true not just of humans, but of animals as well as extra-terrestrial intelligences

Directed contingency… Sounds a lot like evolutionary processes now doesn’t it?

So how does Dembski propose we distinguish between the two ?

The contingency must conform to an independently given pattern, and we must be able independently to formulate that pattern.

Well, function is such a pattern and that is exactly what selection is proposed to do. Selecting for function. Hmmm, this is harder than Dembski may have envisioned… So specification is not sufficient, so we should go back to complexity. But complexity is just the negative log of the probability that a particular system can be explained. In other words, complexity will go to zero when the probability increases because we have identified intelligent causes. So that does not work either. So perhaps we can show that evolutionary processes cannot generate specification (nope) nor can they explain information in the genome (nope, regularity and chance processes have been shown to be able to do just that). So what is one left to do? Deny that evolution can explain it. No further evidence needed, require science to provide sufficiently detailed steps until all gaps are closed. Such unreasonable requests indicate why ID remains scientifically infertile. It cannot even compete with our ignorance.

Where science says, we don’t know let’s do more research, ID claims to have the answer ‘design’ which as Del points out

“That Dembski is not employing the robust, standard, agency-derived conception of design that most of his supporters and many of his critics have assumed seems clear.””

Not employing the robust standard, agency derived conception of design… Indeed, the approach chosen by Dembski is far far more limited than this. and yet through bait and switch ID attempts to avoid dealing with these flaws.

I repeat with more emphasis to FL:

FL; 1) Please explain why a complete and total understanding of abiogenesis is required to observe and understand evolutionary trends in known lineages of organisms, including fungi, orchids, ferns, daisies, wheat, cattle, sheep, horses, brontotheres, clams, snails, oysters, parrots, tulips, and bacteria? and 2) Why do you persist in refusing to demonstrate the alleged predictive and explanatory powers of Intelligent Design?

FL wrote:

“The principal characteristic of intelligent causation is directed contingency, or what we call choice.”

OK. So now all you have to do is show that some “complex specified” system evolved before there was any selective pressure involved. In others words, what example can you give of some feature of life that evolved prior to the environment in which it was favored? Who made the choice? How did they know what the future needs of the organism would be? Why did they want the organism to survive? Be aware that humans have not shown much foresight in this area, even in regards to their own evolution. And, oh yea, God can’t possibly be the answer, since ID is certainly not religious. Besides why would God want bacteria to evolve flagella or antibiotic resistance, especially before they needed them?

And remember, it is not enough for the variation to arise before the environment changes. That is what is predicted by MET. What you need to do is find the intelligent agent responsible and determine the motives and mechanisms involved. You know, all that stuff ID tries so hard to avoid. What was directed? When? Why? Remember, there is good evidence that mutations are not directed, so what was? How? By who?

The point is that the living organisms we see around us today are adequately explained by historical contingency, not directed contingency. That is why we can construct the tree of life. That is why we fincd a nested hierarchy in the genetic data. Once again, your idea falls short of what is already known.

the snowflake does NOT display specification

I am puzzled by the word ‘specification’. In normal use it refers to a written standard that a manufacturer (usually) tries to meet. It’s obviously used differently here. Dembski seems to use it as a near synonym for ‘function’ but in that case why are the banks of a river excluded? Perhaps you could clarify things by giving the specification for, say, an aspen tree that has spread over a couple of hectares and also tell us how you determined that it was specified.

FL Wrote:

Very briefly: the snowflake displays complexity, yes, intricate order, yes – but the snowflake does NOT display specification,

Once again, an ID proponent shows his total lack of familiarity with ID.

In fact, the snowflake displays specification but because it is caused by natural law, it does not contain any complexity.

As Elsberry and Shallit observed

If we consider a piece of glass divided into tiny cells, and each cell either can or cannot be covered by a molecule of water with equal probability, it seems likely even in the absence of a formal calculation that the probability that the resulting figure will have the symmetry observed in ice crystals is vanishingly small. Furthermore, the symmetry seems a legitimate specification, at least as good as specifications such as “outboard rotary motor” that Dembski himself advances. Yet in addressing this claim Dembski falls back on the causal history interpretation, stating that “…such shapes form as a matter of physical necessity simply in virtue of the properties of water (the filter will assign the crystals to necessity and not to design).”

This inconsistency and counterintuitive use of terminology seems to haunt ID and its proponents

Even now, I suspect that some of you evolutionists are praying (to whatever!) that Judge Jones’ decision never gets reviewed or re-considered in ANY other court of law regarding the religion angle, because you know there’ll be Hell To Pay regarding Jones’ erroneous statements!!

So why are there no prominent IDers advocating that another school district be found to promulgate a similar policy, to receive a hearing before a less biased/incompetent judge, so you can get the legal outcome you want?

Why are the IDiots so inclined to whine about Jones’ decision and Jones’ motives, competence, agenda, etc., yet so disinclined to suggest the Dover policy be tried again in a different jurisdiction? If Jones was so obviously and singularly wrong, why not just run the same play again? I think everyone knows the answer.

Yea right. The one example where the defendants were proven to be lying under oath in order to cover up their true religious motivations. Yea, I’m really scared that decision will be overturned.

Anyway, it doesn’t matter. No court decision will ever make ID science and even if it is declared to be science it will never be good science and even if it somehow ever manages to really be science it will never have the predictive or explanatory power of modern evolutionary theory. Scientifically it is completely and utterly meaningless and everyone knows it. Why not do some real science instead of whining about Judge Jones?

Stephen Wells:

Therefore, blue is the set theoretic complement of red and green, and everything that isn’t red or green, is blue. Therefore, lemons, canaries and oranges are all blue.

I’m not sure if this is made with tongue in cheek to show IDC’s problem.

Anyhow, lemons, canaries and oranges are most often recognized as variants of yellow or orange, which is a mixture of red and green. (Though canaries has evolved to have many colors.) Your premise is wrong.

The most well known examples that combines stochastic and deterministic processes on a fundamental level are quantum mechanics and evolution. There is no known example of “a third choice” in this sense.

…but the snowflake does NOT display specification…

“Specification” – another undefined, unquantifiable concept you hide behind in your desperate haste to pretend your narrow religion can be supported by science. Your failure to provide even a thumbnail definition of “specification” proves your arguments are hollow, and you know it.

I notice you tried to talk a good talk about “complex information;” then, when I pointed out that a snowflake has “complex information,” you dropped that buzz-phrase and substituted another – “specification.” That’s all ID is, really: an ongoing shell-game of misleading buzzwords substituting for actual content. (“Cdesign proponentsists,” anyone?)

And no, FL, abiogenisis is NOT evolution. They’re not the same subjects, even though they’re both addressed by the same scientists. Just like quantum mechanics and general relativity are not the same subjects, even though they’re addressed by the same scientists.

FL:

Torbjorn pointed out that astrology fails to “make individual predictions.” So we all scratch off astrology as science.

We do that as it is supposed to give individual predictions. Besides, general correlations (like coupled female menstruation) are best explained by other mechanisms (such as pheromones IIRC).

But whether we use individual predictions or not depends on the theory. Otherwise we may make a combination error.

Experience will show that only intelligent agency gives rise to functional information.

“Functional information” isn’t defined here (of course), but evolution is a theory that explains how new functional traits occurs and fixates in a population. So this is simply wrong. Therefore we can’t use this to test IDC ideas.

The same problems of no definition and false dilemma remains for your other examples, such as “natural genetic algorithm writing” and “irreducible complexity”.

We are still waiting for you to come up with an IDC mechanism that can make a prediction that can actually be tested.

No time for me to google things for you.

Yeah, right, you have plenty of time to repeat the same nonsense and outright lies, in post after post, at least since 2005; but you suddenly don’t have time to back any of your BS up. Just like all the other ID “scientists” who are too busy doing PR to ever get around to doing any actual scientific work, or even respond to a call-for-papers.

A strange sort of “science” you do, FL – so much busy-ness, and no actual accomplishments.

Experience will show that only intelligent agency gives rise to functional information.

Thus Natural Selection and variation are an “intelligent agency”. Of course, ID has done nothing to show that intelligent agency gives rise to ‘functional information’, all ID has done is defined our ignorance as complexity and combined it with the concept of specification to confuse people like FL into believing that it says anything about agency…

Hilarious

FL wrote:

“Experience will show that only intelligent agency gives rise to functional information.”

Experience will also show that the earth is flat and that the sun goes round the earth. That is why experience is not a valid criteria for scientific conclusions. Indeed, personal experience is never accepted as evidence of anything in science. That is why we do controlled experimentas that are repeatable. That is why we don’t just jump at the first answer that seems to make intuitive sense and declare it to be right.

In this case, how would one distinguish between a favorable variant that arose by random mutation, then survived selection and became fixed versus the exact same mutation that was poofed into every organism? The outcome would be identical, except in the former case there are known observable processes that can account for the observations, in the latter case you just have to believe in magic. The history of science shows us that the latter approach is neither constructive nor instructive, while the former has given us modern evolutionary theory.

Experience also shows that people who say stuff like this really don’t understand how science works at all. If you think that the experience argument is valid, please be advised that my experiences are quite different from yours.

Experience will also show that the earth is flat and that the sun goes round the earth. That is why experience is not a valid criteria for scientific conclusions.

Yep. One could make a fairly long list of the now accepted scientific hypotheses that were essentially the abandoning of some intuitive notion that was commonly accepted to until that point.

Henry

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This page contains a single entry by PvM published on October 25, 2007 11:00 PM.

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