"unintelligent non-design" and Amazon.com reviewers

William Dembski has for years made claims that his “Explanatory Filter” (EF) provided a theoretical basis for “pre-theoretic” sciences such as archaeology and forensics. I am an archaeologist who also has forensic experience as a consultant to law enforcement, and trial expert witness. Plus, I worked as a private investigator for several years. So, finding no comparison with the EF and my professional experience, I was always somewhat irritated when reading Dembski’s books. For this reason, I was very happy to have been asked to contribute a chapter to “Why Intelligent Design Fails” (WIDF).

The book came out this summer, and eventually acquired a small number of reviews posted on the Amazon.com page devoted to WIDF.. After a handful of very laudatory reviews, a string of hostile reviews followed. The problem of creationists writing hostile reviews of science at Amazon is of course not new, and has been even discussed here on Panda’s Thumb before now. But it is rather obvious that the hostile reviews written aginst our book were by people who had neither read the book nor even had a very clear grasp of intelligent design creationism. I had hoped for some cogent comments from intelligent design advocates, but I have yet to see any.

From pseudonymous “Dr. Will Samson (Livermore, CA),” we have a few gems of bafflement. For example, “4)How does Variation in Vacuo produce Vertical and Horizontal Integration, both Inorganic and Organic? When did Universe-al Occupancy check in to Absolute Vacancy?” I did get a chuckle from “This book was worth one star for its sheer boldness and attempt at parrying ID’s lunging thrusts.” I couldn’t help combining “lunging thrusts” with Newt Gingerich’s characters in “1945” always “athwart” each other. Burrrrr…..

Pseudonymous “Sergio Montoya (Madrid, Espana)” seems to want to obscure his national as well as personal identity. (One hint: in Spain one always uses a matrinomic and patrinomic). But friend “Sergio” demonstrates that he has not read the book when he writes,

“What is the hardest for myself to accept from these experts in their respective fields is how they can go from critique to pronouncement in one short book when for thousands of years, Old Creationism and now New Creationism have been dominant in the philosophies of man, especially outside of the Modern Western Cultures.”

At no time do any of the authors base their refution of ID on an argument that it is “creationism” old or new. We were all determined to take ID at its face value when its proponents claim it is some sort of science. I also suppose that Sergio missed the discussion by Taner Edis (Chapter 1) on non-Western creationism and ID.

I reproduce the following in toto, and I think it needs no elaboration on my part.

No Artificial Intelligence without Superior Human ID, September 16, 2004

Reviewer: Joey Salem (Boston, USA) - This book made interesting reading, but missed the boat.

If there could be no Artificial Intelligence (AI) without superior Human ID, how could there be Human Intelligence without a higher Superiority Order of Intelligization??

Can the universe really get the Greater from the Lesser? If AI can’t create itself through natural selection/unintelligent undesign, how can we hold the creed that evolutionization created itself and its own I.Q.-equal or superior who in turn creates AI? In other words, it’s essential and necessary and sine qua non that Human ID create AI, but nothingness (non ID) created what created AI?

This is one of many reasons anti-ID fails. See the excellent review of the book Creationism’s Trojan Horse for further elaboration of the self-evident axiom (a synthesis of Laws of Thermodynamics, Causation, Motion, Necessitation & Physimechanics): Greater to Lesser.

Another “reviewer” “M. Martinko” explains things to us:

How can there be Givens without Giving? How can there be Giving without Giver? How can things B without A? How could B want to get us to Z in the precise DNA Formula & Physical Law and Order of C,D,E,F,G,etc.? What made the B-Z Sequentialization want to start, continue and end the race at that exact finish line (mature functionality & reproduction of healthy, survivable dominant populations)? And how do you start this Marathon fairly, well past the ‘A’-Starting Line at point ‘B’ (cheating)?

Seems like the reasoning of this book takes these and other Givens for Granted. But you can’t have ‘Taken for Granted’ without ‘Granteds’. How can there be a ‘Grant’ without a Grantor?

Looks instead like Unintelligent non-design (Alpha-less B-Z marathon) fails to win the race, let alone know how it all started and kept going to cross today’s finish line.

I doubt that there is any conspiracy afoot, although the repeated catch phrase “unintelligent non-design” suggests the possibility of collaboration. Too bad that the EF is such a failure.

intelligent designator (Chicago), “If Design is selected out (due to implications of Designer), then Intelligence is also (due to implications of Intelligentsia). But if Intelligence is selected out, then so is Designation (with the implied Designator). If Designation is out, then so is Selection (with its concomitant Selector).

We’re left with a-selective,unintelligent non-design.

What we are actually left with is the problem of how to respond to “reviewers” who have never read the book they claim to be reviewing? There is no point in responding to their arguments directly, as they make none that refer to the book in question. (Actually they made few statements that were even coherent).