Reservations About ID, Rottenness in Creationism

As a card carrying creationist, I’ve sometimes wanted to post about my reservations regarding the search for evidence of Intelligent Design (ID) and some of the rottenness in the search for evidence in young earth creation. I’ve refrained from speaking my mind on these matters too frequently lest I ruffle the feathers of the few friends I have left in the world (the ID community and the creationist community). But I must speak out and express criticism of my own side of the aisle on occasion.

Before proceeding, I’d like to thank Elizabeth for her hospitality in letting me post here. She invited me to post some things regarding my views of Natural Selection and Genetic Algorithms, but in the spirit of skepticism I want to offer criticism of some of my own ideas.So this essay will sketch what I consider valid criticism of ID, creationism in general and Young Earth Creationism (YEC) in particular.

Take any of the accepted laws of physics, like say the classic one, F=ma in classical mechanics. The physical behavior requires no Intelligent Designer. This is true of every physical law. I recall a professor of physics saying, “after Newton there was no need of witches or of God”. What she meant, it seems to me, is God was irrelevant to understanding physical law. Invoking God doesn’t give further insight to understanding physics.

Only in some controversial interpretations of Quantum Mechanics will some physicists even dare to argue God exists. Such arguments have been put forward by Richard Conn Henry, John Barrow, Frank Tipler, FJ Belinfante etc. See:

http://www.uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/the-quantum-enigma-of-consciousness-and-the-identity-of-the-designer/

But that is the crux of the problem. If the Intelligent Designer is not the focus of physics, and physics underlies all the sciences, then how can ID then be incorporated into science? In that regard, I’m mostly ambivalent to arguing whether ID is science or not.

Like the play “Waiting for Godot”, we are “Waiting for the Intelligent Designer”. I reject the notion that one can apply stone henge as evidence of intelligent design and then make an equally believable case that one can look at the intricacies of the cell and conclude the Intelligent Designer exists. When I was an engineering student, I would be subject to examination to demonstrate that I could make designs. Human made designs are thus subject to independent verification. We can subject those sort of intelligent designers to field laboratory testing, we cannot do so regarding the supposed Intelligent Designer of the universe and life. This lack of direct testability will always leave quite a bit of room for skepticism, if not some inclination for outright rejection, no matter how powerful the arguments are against chemical and biological evolution.

If God were continually making miracles like he did in the time of Moses, we might not be having these debates, but as for now He has chosen to remain hidden from observation and experiment which are the foundations of science.

These criticism of ID will apply to creationism and particularly young earth creationism. Even supposing miracles are real, by their very nature, miracles will elude repeatability (that’s why they are miracles!). The most we can hope for is to use science to demonstrate that an unusual mechanism had to be responsible for certain phenomena. You can pretty much forget being able to create experiments that will require the Intellgent Designer to appear in the laboratory or in the field.  Not even creationists will argue for that possibility.

But that is not my worst complaint about the enterprise of YECism. The community appeals to Biblical authority to “prove” its case. But that is no proof whatsoever, and I’d argue that even the Bible doesn’t teach this as a method of proof. Is there biblical thermodynamics, calculus, electromagnetism, classical mechanics, linear algebra, or any major field of research that can be resolved by theology? No.

For example, some YECs will come around and preach that if you don’t believe the Earth is Young, then you’re compromising the word of God. To which I respond, well what does the book of Genesis have to say about what the right form of Maxwell’s Equations should be or how do your resolve the conflict of YEC with the Einstein-Planck equation that is related to the photo electric effect and thus all of Quantum Mechanics. At that point, the preachers have little to say. They’ll then proceed to make disparaging comments about my character.

The major problem of YEC (and there are many) is the problem of distant starlight. Some will invoke temporally and spatially varying speeds of light. Some will argue light was created en-route that gives the appearance of age (GAG!). The problem with varying speeds of light is in order to preserve the energy of the Einstein-Planck equation, one has to then invoke a varying Planck’s constant, which would mean the undoing of Quantum Mechanics. So YECism flies in the face of Maxwell’s Equations (electromagnetism), Relativity (which is related to Maxwell’s Equations), and Quantum Mechanics — no small pillars of real science! Though YECism might stand on its own against evolutionism, it collapses under the weight of modern physics.

But that is not even the end of the story. YECists like Ken Ham routinely demonize other Christians who disagree with him. This is personally distasteful because many in the ID community who have even been expelled and suffered career loss for their criticism of Darwin are also demonized by the likes of Ken Ham. Even supposing YEC is true, this is no way to treat fellow Christian who have shown a lot of courage in speaking their conscience.

Does his organization spend lots of money on real science? Well relative to the millions they spend on amusement parks which they pass off as the “creation museum”, they don’t do much on behalf of answering scientific questions. I’ve mentioned three major problems which are utterly neglected in favor of building amusement parks of no scientific value.

If YECists consider it sinful to believe in an Old Universe, then they’ll have to come to terms with the work of creationists like Maxwell, who ironically has given the best line of reasoning to argue against YECism. Using intimidation, demonization, and appeals to theology will not make much of a persuasive case, even to card carrying creationists like me. In fact, it only reinforces the view they have no facts to stand on, only blind belief.

Sometimes the way YEC “research” is conducted reminds me of the geocentrists that attempted to influence my denomination, the PCA. [incidentally physicist Dave Snoke is an Elder in the PCA, and Dave Heddle is deeply sympathetic to the PCA]. It was disgusting to try to reason with geocentrists. I know many Christian believers, who are in the aerospace industry. That industry wouldn’t achieve its success if it accepted geocentrism. I even met a Christian creationist astronaut who walked on the moon (Charles Duke). This would not be possible if the biblical geocentrists had their way. But some people are so committed to their own theology, they are unwilling to be reasoned with, nor will they seriously engage reasonable objections to their claims. If you want a taste of geocentrism, go here:

http://www.fixedearth.com/

Though YECs one the whole aren’t as bad as the geocentrists, there are pockets of them that are as bad, imho. I don’t want these sort of people on my team, and hence I have chosen to affiliate myself with the ID community because of some of the rotten tomatoes in creationism.

So then, in light of these things, why do I accept ID as true and hold out a smidgen of hope that YEC might be true? That obviously will be the subject of future posts at the Skeptical Zone, but all this to say, one can’t accuse me of not recognizing serious difficulties in some of the ideas I’ve promoted and explored.  And that is what I would hope the skeptical zone is about.

384 thoughts on “Reservations About ID, Rottenness in Creationism

  1. Why do you think the designer still exists?

    Because of the miracle of life.

    Credont2:

    If I were shown credible, testable evidence of “the designer” or intelligent design I would likely accept it, whether I could see “the designer” or not.

    Thank you for responding to my point.

    So what would count as positive evidence or positive arguments for ID for you short of seeing the designer, or the designer in action?

    Thank you for responding directly to my question. Much appreciated.

    As far as I can see, none of the other critics agreed or disagreed explicitly whether the absence of seeing the Intelligent Designer directly is reason to either have reservation or reason to reject ID. What do you have to say?

    Would you be closed to the notion of ID if you can’t see the Intelligent Designer directly.

    Joe and William Murray responded but they aren’t critics of ID.

    So far as I can tell, I haven’t seen responses to this point by:
    flint
    toronto
    cubist
    rich

    Have I missed your responses to this question? Apologies in advance if I have, so please come forward and repeat if I’ve missed it, or if you’ve not responded to this point, please state your position.

    Is not seeing the Intelligent Designer directly, sufficient grounds for you to reject ID or at least sufficient to make you have reservations?

    PS
    Thank you to others who have posted on this thread but whom I haven’t responded to. Thank you for participating in the discussion.

  2. stcordova,

    stcordova: “What would count as positive ID for ID in your mind short of seeing the designer in action?”

    Take everything ever written about evolution and take it off the table.

    On this completely empty desk, present your case for ID as if the theory of evolution had never been tendered.

  3. stcordova: Is not seeing the Intelligent Designer directly, sufficient grounds for you to reject ID or at least sufficient to make you have reservations?

    Why not just say (the Christian) God? The problem is that there is dishonesty in touting an “Intelligent Designer” as anything else. I really don’t see the problem if someone believes that God created the universe. It seems just a philosophical choice. That creationists wish to deny fact and reality by reference to texts of dubious origin is incomprehensible to me. Science is a practical pursuit and “Intelligent Designers” add nothing. So I cannot reject ID because there is nothing in the concept that can be considered worthy of rejection. As I said, a testable hypothesis would be a start.

  4. stcordova,

    stcordova: “This the chance for critics to come out and say, “unless I see the designer, no matter how compelling the circumstantial evidence, I probably will reject ID.”

    That’s a very loaded question.

    Why do you think the designer still exists?

    What information do you have about the designer that would suggest that he does?

    To be clearer, I have never met Henry Ford, but I believe the Ford Mustang exists and was designed by human engineers working for that company.

    There is a lot of evidence suggesting Henry Ford actually existed.

    If you could convince me your designer had a possibility of actually engineering life, I would have no problem considering that.

    Is your evidence as strong as that showing that Henry Ford both existed and had the skills that led to the Ford Mustang?

  5. stcordova

    So what would count as positive evidence or positive arguments for ID for you short of seeing the designer, or the designer in action?

    I would need to see results that unambiguously point to an external outside agency was responsible for non-natural “intelligent design” in biological life. A partial list could include:

    1. A reliable, non-subjective way to tell non-natural “intelligent design” from natural occurring biological features that may mimic design, as opposed to the fatally flawed and subjective EF proposed by Dembski.

    2. A proper theory of ID that is not based on negative claims (NDE can’t explain it, so ID must be correct), or personal incredulity (I can’t imagine that this occurred naturally, so it must be designed)

    3. A theory of ID that includes realistic, testable hypotheses (as opposed to the ridiculous “try to evolve a flagellum” proposed by Behe), and research that actually performs the tests.

    4. A theory of and evidence for design mechanisms to explain how non-natural “intelligently designed” features were actually manufactured. What raw materials were used, what forces or manufacturing techniques were used to assemble the materials into the final product?

    5. A way to determine a timeline for when the “intelligent design” actually took place (frontloading vs. continuous tinkering)

    6. Of course, the identity of the Designer(s).

    How about it Sal. Can ID provide any of those things?

  6. What do you mean by “not seeing”?

    I can’t see atoms, electrons quarks, dark matter, etc. but they have attributes that can be described mathematically and tested empirically.

    The problem with the designer is that he/she/it has no attributes other than whatever are necessarily to fill in the current gaps in our knowledge of the history of biology.

    In other words, the designer is completely ad hoc and adds nothing at all to knowledge,

  7. Joe Felsenstein wrote:

    If you set the bar so low for being on your list that all someone has to do to get on it is have some “criticisms of evolutionary theory”, well, you can add to the list most evolutionary biologists. We argue all the time about the ins and outs of evolutionary theory. Every one of us has some changes we want made in the body of evolutionary theory. I guess that makes us all “critics” of evolutionary biology.

    It seems to me that the list doesn’t have anywhere near the meaning you imply.

    Oh, I forgot, you should be on the list given you are the one widely credited for coining the phrase, “Meuller’s Ratchet”. :-)

    Though many of the names listed (which should have included you, my apologies) would absolutely disavow ID, the nature of the work put forward has most certainly given fodder for ID proponents and creationists.

    It is well known, there is some reluctance to be forthcoming with certain inferences lest ammunition be given to the creationists.

    I’m honored you participated in this discussion.

    PS
    I sent a copy of Genetic Entropy to your office address as I promised a few years back. Did you receive it?

  8. Petrushka:

    What do you mean by “not seeing”?

    Not detecting current activity in real time.

  9. Thornton asked:

    1. A reliable, non-subjective way to tell non-natural “intelligent design” from natural occurring biological features that may mimic design,

    So how would you tell non-natural intelligent design from other forms of intelligent design without witnessing the Intelligent Designer in action? If you say , that can’t be done without witnessing the designer in action, then that agrees with the criticism I put forward about the Intelligent Designer being absent.

    So you really didn’t describe how design could be detected in the absence of witnessing the actions of the Intelligent Designer in real time today.

    It seems you won’t be able to accept ID without seeing the Intelligent Designer in action. That’s fine, that’s a respectable opinion. But let’s be clear about what would persuade you. Force and Shapiro have been very clear, that pretty much without seeing the Designer himself, other explanations would be searched for.

    2. A proper theory of ID that is not based on negative claims (NDE can’t explain it, so ID must be correct), or personal incredulity (I can’t imagine that this occurred naturally, so it must be designed)

    But that doesn’t answer the question, what would constitute positive evidence. If you believe there is no positive evidence even in principle short of witnessing the Designer in action in real time today, then that’s fine, say so.

    Say, “I won’t believe in ID unless I see the Designer give us a sign at my bidding and in my lab.” That’s fine, that’s respectable. Just say so.

  10. stcordova: Not detecting current activity in real time.

    Give an example of activity. An example of past activity would interest me, as long as it’s specific.

  11. stcordova

    So how would you tell non-natural intelligent design from other forms of intelligent design without witnessing the Intelligent Designer in action?

    You tell us Sal. You’re the one claiming you have positive evidence for ID without seeing the Designer in action.

    But that doesn’t answer the question, what would constitute positive evidence. If you believe there is no positive evidence even in principle short of witnessing the Designer in action in real time today, then that’s fine, say so.

    My points 3, 4, and 5 that you conspicuously avoided would constitute positive evidence. But you don’t have any it seems.

  12. It is well known, there is some reluctance to be forthcoming with certain inferences lest ammunition be given to the creationists.

    This conspiratorial assertion, for which there is no evidence, gets trotted out regularly. In the real world of science, there is constant (and often acrimonious) debate about all inferences, which leads to tests to resolve the debates, which leads to resolutions. This conspiracy of silence about inferences only exists as a way creationists can accuse scientists of what doesn’t exist except in creationists’ imaginations.

    But extracting the dishonesty out of Sal’s paragraphs one by one, would leave almost nothing left. And certainly nothing of substance.

  13. You tell us Sal. You’re the one claiming you have positive evidence for ID without seeing the Designer in action.

    I never claimed that I have a positive case for ID, others may have, but I never have. Hence, I posted my reservation! So it appears, my reservation and criticism of ID is a good one, wouldn’t you (a critic) agree?

    3. A theory of ID that includes realistic, testable hypotheses (as opposed to the ridiculous “try to evolve a flagellum” proposed by Behe), and research that actually performs the tests.

    So how would you make a test without the Designer being present? What would constitute a “Designer Exists” without witnessing the designer in action in real time? You’ve not described what “testable hypothesis” means to you. Does that mean demonstrating evolution is unlikely? But, ah, you’ll just claim that’s a negative test. So what is a positive test in the absence of a designer? All you’re saying in effect is “a positive test is not a negative test”. That’s not a very positive description!

    You tell us Sal. You’re the one claiming you have positive evidence for ID without seeing the Designer in action.

    I claimed no such “positive test”. I can’t think of a positive test that exists outside of witnessing the Designer in action. My colleagues have said that, not I. You’re attributing arguments to me which my colleagues have made, that is understandable, but that is not my position.

    So, it seems to me, in effect, Darwinists in general won’t believe unless they witness the Designer in action in real time. That’s fine, that’s respectable, but it also raises a standard that will preclude accepting ID unless the Designer gives them a sign in real time. That’s fine, that’s respectable, but lets not pretend that Darwinists can ever be persuaded even in principle short of witnessing the Designer in action.

    Thank you for responding. It represents to me the REAL reasons the two sides will never agree unless the Designer shows himself. Unlike my some of my colleagues, I don’t think less of someone for disbelieving ID because they see no Designer. However, I will crticize acceptence of ideas that are contrary to the evidence, like Darwin’s claims and the insistence on chemical evolution being true.

    So, it seems, Darwinists in general won’t believe unless they witness the Designer in action in real time. This echoes Shapiro

    ‘some future day may yet arrive when all reasonable chemical experiments run to discover a probable origin of life have failed unequivocally. Further, new geological evidence may yet indicate a sudden appearance of life on the earth. Finally, we may have explored the universe and found no trace of life, or processes leading to life, elsewhere. Some scientists might choose to turn to religion for an answer. Others, however, myself included, would attempt to sort out the surviving less probable scientific explanations in the hope of selecting one that was still more likely than the remainder.’

    Shapiro, then says, we’re far from that day. I don’t think so.

  14. Give an example of activity. An example of past activity would interest me, as long as it’s specific.

    An apostle visiting a dead man and raising him from the dead. Ideally the corpse would be dead a few days. If such a thing happened (not that I’m saying it did), I would view that as an example of a Designer in action.

    Jerry Coyne described the miracles that would provisionally convince him a Designer existed.

    But, perhaps you can articulate what would count as evidence for you. I’ve articulated what counts as believable evidence for me, but that is obviously not what counts as believable evidence for you.

  15. Thorton:
    stcordova


    So how would you tell non-natural intelligent design from other forms of intelligent design without witnessing the Intelligent Designer in action?

    You tell us Sal.You’re the one claiming you have positive evidence for ID without seeing the Designer in action.

    But that doesn’t answer the question, what would constitute positive evidence. If you believe there is no positive evidence even in principle short of witnessing the Designer in action in real time today, then that’s fine, say so.

    My points 3, 4, and 5 that you conspicuously avoided would constitute positive evidence.But you don’t have any it seems.

    I just caught up on this thread after being incommunicado for a couple of days and Thorton has put his finger on exactly what bothered me reading Mr. Cordova’s responses. Asking one’s interlocutors to describe one’s evidence is bizarre.

    Mr. Cordova: If you have positive evidence for ID, including but not necessarily limited to empirical observations, one or more scientific hypotheses that purport to explain those observations, one or more testable predictions that are entailed by those hypotheses, and any documented research done to test those predictions, please present it. Note that criticisms of modern evolutionary theory and arguments from incredulity do not meet this criteria. If you do not have any such evidence, there is no reason to consider your claims.

  16. So far as I can tell, I haven’t seen responses to this point by:
    flint
    toronto
    cubist
    rich

    Have I missed your responses to this question? Apologies in advance if I have, so please come forward and repeat if I’ve missed it, or if you’ve not responded to this point, please state your position.

    I have stated my position in no uncertain terms, repeatedly. Indeed, most of my responses have directly addressed your question. So once more for the record: ID is religion. It is not science. It can never be science. If you could trot out your Designer, then we could weigh it, measure it, examine it, test it, and eventually be satisfied with it. Until that time, you are unable to produce anything of substance, and accusing others of being nonresponsive. As always, this is dishonest.

  17. I seem to have crossed paths in the ether with Mr. Cordova, who stated “I never claimed that I have a positive case for ID, others may have, but I never have.”

    If you don’t have a positive case for ID, why do you support it and why should anyone be interested in taking your support for it seriously?

  18. My biggest objection to ID is that the Designer apparently gets a free lunch and evolution doesn’t. It’s just not fair.

  19. stcordova,
    Thorton asked:

    ” 1. A reliable, non-subjective way to tell non-natural “intelligent design” from natural occurring biological features that may mimic design,

    ..and then you go and suggest Thorton’s answer for him,

    stcordova: “So how would you tell non-natural intelligent design from other forms of intelligent design without witnessing the Intelligent Designer in action?”

    …and then you put some more words in his mouth.

    stcordova: “If you say , that can’t be done without witnessing the designer in action, then that agrees with the criticism I put forward about the Intelligent Designer being absent.”

  20. This conspiratorial assertion, for which there is no evidence, gets trotted out regularly.

    See:
    http://www.nonzero.org/newyorker.htm

    THE ACCIDENTAL CREATIONIST

    Why Stephen Jay Gould is bad for evolution.

    ….
    Gould himself has lent real strength to the creationist movement. Not intentionally, of course. Gould’s politics are secular left, the opposite of creationist politics, and his outrage toward creationists is genuine. Yet, in spite of this stance—and, oddly, in some ways because of it—he has wound up aiding and abetting their cause.

    See, if you tell the truth like Gould, you’ll get pounced on for giving ammunition to the creationists.

    In fact, if you really pay attention to what he [Gould] is saying, and accept it, you might start to wonder how evolution could have created anything as intricate as a human being.

    Amen brother Gould, Amen!

  21. I would consider positive evidence for design a theory of design. I would not require direct observation of design or even a list of times and places.

    But I would require a theory, at least in principle, of how the designer overcomes the problem of big numbers, the problem of knowing which isolated 500+ bit strings are functional.

    My position is really simple. If function is really isolated, then evolution is impossible. But so is design by method other than magic.

    If function is not isolated, as work by Lenski and Thornton suggests, then ID is superfluous.

  22. stcordova

    Thank you for responding. It represents to me the REAL reasons the two sides will never agree unless the Designer shows himself.

    I’ll again note you cowardly tap-danced around my suggestions for what would constitute positive evidence and demanded that I provide concrete examples for you. You also falsely state that I agree with your claim that we have to see the Designer in action as the only acceptable positive evidence for Design.

    Sad to see that your level of intellectual honesty hasn’t gone up one iota from your early UD days.

  23. stcordova,

    stcordova: “An apostle visiting a dead man and raising him from the dead. Ideally the corpse would be dead a few days. If such a thing happened (not that I’m saying it did), I would view that as an example of a Designer in action.”

    That would be an example of “resurrection”, not “design of life”.

    Equating the two would be implying the designer of life and the Christian god are one and the same.

    Have you done that?

  24. If you don’t have a positive case for ID, why do you support it and why should anyone be interested in taking your support for it seriously?

    The negative case is compelling enough for me personally.

    Outside of my own subjective interest, the crtique of evolutionary theories are objective. Dead molecules don’t become living things spontaneously. Whether one believes in ID or not, I support criticism of evolutionary theories, and that is the bulk of what I discuss.

    If you edit out the advocacy of ID in my writings, you’ll have criticisms of evolutionary ideas, and criticism of evolutionary theories falls well within the realm of mainstream science.

    But I’m not engaging evolutionists to persuade them, I’m engaging them to find out if they can defend their refuted and unprovable and illogical assertions.

    If you don’t have a positive case for ID, why do you support it and why should anyone be interested in taking your support for it seriously?

    They shouldn’t take me or my support for ID seriously, they should take the facts in evidence seriously. I merely report on the facts which they temselves can verify.

  25. THE ACCIDENTAL CREATIONIST

    The Destiny argument was put forward by Chardin in the Phenomenon of Man in 1930. It is hardly new.

    I have to hope that Robert Wright doesn’t claim credit for someone else’s idea, particularly when that someone else is widely known.

  26. If the negative argument is good enough for you, why not pick your single most devastating argument against evolution an let’s see what we can make of it.

  27. Equating the two would be implying the designer of life and the Christian god are one and the same.

    Have you done that?

    I believe the Designer is the Christian God, I don’t claim to prove it, that is a matter of faith. But I will say the Christian God has a sufficient skill set to bring dead molecules to life, it seems pre-biotic soups do not.

    Detection of design cannot necessarily infer the identity of the designer any more than detecting the designs on Easter Island will tell me the names of the designer. One can speculate on the identity of the designer, and I have done as much in my posting at UD. But identity of the designer is not formally derivable from detection of design.

    There is a fine distinction between what ID proponents personally believe about who the Deisgner is, versus what they feel can be formally proven. I’ve given my personal opinion, but that is an opinion, not a scientific fact.

  28. stcordova

    If you edit out the advocacy of ID in my writings, you’ll have criticisms of evolutionary ideas, and criticism of evolutionary theories falls well within the realm of mainstream science.

    Honest, evidence-based criticism of evolutionary theories falls well within the realm of mainstream science. That doesn’t include the arguments from personal incredulity and willful ignorance that are all IDC proponents have offered to date.

  29. If the negative argument is good enough for you, why not pick your single most devastating argument against evolution an let’s see what we can make of it.

    That’s the subject of my next post.

    Thank you for responding to my present discussion, I look forward to your alls critiques of the next discussion which I hope to post in about a week.

  30. stcordova,

    stcordova: “The negative case is compelling enough for me personally.”

    Then what about gravity?

    Is it intelligent because there is no other way I can imagine that it could possibly know where down is?

  31. One can speculate on the identity of the designer, and I have done as much in my posting at UD. But identity of the designer is not formally derivable from detection of design.

    This needs to be disentangled. Sal STARTS by assuming his god. And the powers he imagines his god should have. THEN he starts looking for indications that his god is real. He looks around and he sees Divine Design – not because there is any, but because his faith requires that it be there. THEN, based on the assumption that his god designed what he wishes to be designed, he “concludes” that his designer must have done it!

    In fact, no design has been detected. And no design CAN be detected, without some knowledge of its history. This is true because a design was created to fulfill a purpose, and the designer’s purpose cannot be derived solely from looking at the function an object currently performs. Many objects design for some purpose are put to use for many different purposes, perhaps none of which was the initial goal of the design. So you MUST know the history, or you can’t detect design.

    But the ID folks simply pretend all of this away, because they START with their conclusions and their god, project it onto whatever they see, “notice” the god they projected there, and “conclude” their god is there after all!

    An apostle visiting a dead man and raising him from the dead. Ideally the corpse would be dead a few days. If such a thing happened (not that I’m saying it did), I would view that as an example of a Designer in action.

    Really? Someone not approaching this with foregone conclusions might go through possibilities more realistically, for example”
    1) Actors and special effects. Hollywood does stuff like this all the time.
    2) David Copperfield. He’s probably around nearby somewhere.
    3) Indications you’re dreaming or someone slipped you a psychoactive drug.
    4) Application of some extremely advanced techology.
    5) Unknown, pending detailed investigation.

    No Designer anywhere in here, except Sal ASSUMED one before he even laid out the scenario. And this illustrates our problem here in a nutshell. The only way to force-fit an uncongenial reality to a silly model is to ASSUME reality fits the model. Whatever it takes.

  32. If you don’t have a positive case for ID, why do you support it and why should anyone be interested in taking your support for it seriously?
    stcordova: The negative case is compelling enough for me personally.

    You are admitting that your support for ID is completely arbitrary. Even if you were to present compelling evidence refuting modern evolutionary theory, the only reasonable conclusion regarding an explanation for the observed diversity of life you could draw at that point would be “I don’t know.”

    Why do you assert ID when you have no positive evidence for it?

  33. Patrick: You are admitting that your support for ID is completely arbitrary.Even if you were to present compelling evidence refuting modern evolutionary theory, the only reasonable conclusion regarding an explanation for the observed diversity of life you could draw at that point would be “I don’t know.”

    Why do you assert ID when you have no positive evidence for it?

    What he’s done is assumed his religion is fact. They he assumes that whatever refutes it must be wrong. Then he dishonestly pretends that his religion wins by default even though it does not. But the underlying point here, which people tend to lose sight of, is that ID is PURE RELIGION, and that means evidence is simply irrelevant. Sal assumes he’s right. Anything not supporting that assumption simply is not evidence. And since that means there’s no evidence for anything else, he must be right just as he assumed!

    This is known as “creationist honesty”.

  34. Flint wrote:

    If you could trot out your Designer, then we could weigh it, measure it, examine it, test it, and eventually be satisfied with it.

    What you have described are sufficient conditions for you to believe ID, but are those also necessary conditions as far as you are concerned? So no, I don’t think you answered the question I posed, which pertained to necessary but not sufficient conditions to accept ID.

    But thank you for attempting to respond, even though your response wasn’t to the question that was asked.

  35. stcordova
    The negative case is compelling enough for me personally.

    Explain the reasoning behind that one Sal.

    As I see it, there are three possibilities

    1. Natural processes we know about (i.e.evolution) account for life and its diversity
    2. Natural processes we currently don’t know about account for life and its diversity.
    3. An Intelligent Designer accounts for life and its diversity.

    How does eliminating 1 somehow mean that 3 must be correct by default?

  36. stcordova,

    stcordova: “The negative case is compelling enough for me personally.

    If ID ever gets mandated by school boards, it would be the only subject taught from a negative point of view.

  37. Sal – you’ve previously tried the ‘no-one will answer my questions’ gambit:

    “Whichever way they answer, I think they’re hosed. I point out the apparent reluctance of Nick Matzke and Jack Krebs to answer a similar set of questions directly. They were able to elude the vise in the free domain of the internet. The critics will not be able to elude the vise in court.”

    Are you goign for that again, really? Do you think Jesus is proud of you?

  38. stcordova,

    Joe Felsenstein wrote:

    If you set the bar so low for being on your list that all someone has to do to get on it is have some “criticisms of evolutionary theory”, well, you can add to the list most evolutionary biologists. We argue all the time about the ins and outs of evolutionary theory. Every one of us has some changes we want made in the body of evolutionary theory. I guess that makes us all “critics” of evolutionary biology.

    It seems to me that the list doesn’t have anywhere near the meaning you imply.

    Oh, I forgot, you should be on the list given you are the one widely credited for coining the phrase, “Meuller’s Ratchet”.

    (Misspelling Muller). If the list should include me then the other thousands of members of evolutionary biology societies are being unfairly left off.

    Though many of the names listed (which should have included you, my apologies) would absolutely disavow ID, the nature of the work put forward has most certainly given fodder for ID proponents and creationists.

    It is well known that creationists and ID types can (such as “News” on Uncommon Descent) try to spin virtually any mildly surprising result as a “failure of Darwinism to predict that”.

    It is well known, there is some reluctance to be forthcoming with certain inferences lest ammunition be given to the creationists.

    Hardly. Mostly I see colleagues of mine making ill-thought-out but self-promoting statements without thinking how those will be misused by creationists.

    PS
    I sent a copy of Genetic Entropy to your office address as I promised a few years back. Did you receive it?

    Yes, thanks. I thanked you on the PT thread, but that was months after all discussion was over. I didn’t have an email address.

  39. 1- What do evos use? That is how did they determine necessity and chance did it? (I need to know what you will accept)

    2- That is a misrepresentation of ID. The design inference requires that necessity and chance be eliminated PLUS some positive evidence- as Behe said:

    The criteria for inferring design in biology is, as Michael J. Behe, Professor of Biochemistry at Leheigh University, puts it in his book Darwin ‘ s Black Box:

    “Our ability to be confident of the design of the cilium or intracellular transport rests on the same principles to be confident of the design of anything: the ordering of separate components to achieve an identifiable function that depends sharply on the components.”

    3- Again what does YOUR position have?

    4- That comes AFTER design has been determined

    5- After design is determined

    6- Not required to determine design and study it

    LoL! Thorton- your position can’t provide any of those.

  40. stcordova: What would count as positive ID for ID in your mind short of seeing the designer in action? If that is the only thing that would count as positive evidence for you, I respect that,

    You’re asking what non-ID-pushers would consider to be evidence for ID? Dude. It’s you ID-pushers’ fucking hypothesis. Or at least it would be you ID-pushers’ fucking hypothesis if it actually was a fucking hypothesis, as opposed to being the collection of unsupported (and sometimes unsupportable) evolution-don’t-work-therefore-ID assertions that ID actually is.
    Explicit gee, I dunno, what do you think would count as evidence for ID? evasive maneuver, with a side order of intent to shift the burden of proof onto your critics, noted. Yes, Mr. Cordova, you most certainly are a Creationist, and the rhetorical gambits you use in place of actual, you know, scientific argumentation, are all too typical of your kind.
    Pony up an actual scientific hypothesis, Mr. Cordova (and no, “somebody done something” doesn’t count). Once you’ve done that, then and only then it will make sense to ask real scientists, and other non-ID-pushers, what they think would constitute evidence for that hypothesis. And if you don’t care for my characterization of ID, you can always, you know, demonstrate where it falls short, right?
    Cubist,

  41. stcordova: So how would you tell non-natural intelligent design from other forms of intelligent design without witnessing the Intelligent Designer in action?

    You tell us, Mr. Cordova.
    You.
    Tell.
    Us.

    If you say , that can’t be done without witnessing the designer in action…

    Except, of course, that that’s not what he said.

    …then that agrees with the criticism I put forward about the Intelligent Designer being absent.

    Yeah… misrepresent your critics’ words, and fill their mouths with the arguments you want them to have made, regardless of how little relationship there may be between (a) the arguments you want them to have made, and (b) the arguments they actually did make! Yeah, that will go over well, no question…

  42. From what I read in this thread is just tired old criticisms that YEC are bad and dumb and ruining science. ID not much better.
    Modern Creationism has become very effective and famous and progressively taking down the old strongholds of evolutionary error or anything denying the fingerprints of God in nature.
    Evolutionary biology is easily knocked about by us because its not true and never made a persuasive scientific case.
    Everyone must notice that well proven conclusions in physics or medicine or plane flying (I think) or others ARE NEVER questioned or could be questioned by the public or those who approach the public to question conclusions.
    WHAT is it about origin subjects?
    Of coarse they go against scripture and general ideas about God and nature BUT its more then that.
    Origin subjects REALLY are about past and gone events and processes and only now are the results of samw with us.
    Therefore one can’t duplicate or test ideas about origins of events and processes.
    So error or even truth is more difficult to prove.
    Creationism has no problem debunking evolution and company because even if it was true it still couldn’t muster up meaty evidence.
    its just not there.
    In fact YEC can easily persuade audiences that evolution is largely lines of reasoning or interpretations of fossils based on presumptions of geology.
    Evolution is not from biological investigation despite being its whole point.

    Evolution from the begining really was not much more then big/small beak birds common origin equals bacteria to buffalos.
    Then trotting out fossils to fill in the dots.
    Not persuasive to the average thoughtful person.
    In fact evolutionary biology really needs to piggyback on the general prestige of scientific progress to persuade audiences who don’t really think about it.
    Seems that way from Canada.

  43. Wait- intelligent designers add plenty to archaeology and forensic science. And one of the three basic questions science asks is “how did it come to be this way?”, and design is one possible way/ mechanism.

    But please present a testable hypothesis for your position so we know what you would accept.

  44. Cubist-

    YOU can’t even produce a testable hypothesis for your position.

    If you could, and actually test it, we may not be having this discussion- depending on the results.

  45. As oppsed to the “theory” of evolution which is based on ignorance.

    But thank the designer that we also have a positive case of ID- just as forensic scientists and archaeologists make their positive case- knowledge of cause and effect relationships.

  46. 1- question-begging as “evolution” could be an artificial process

    2- Science isn’t done via promissory note- if we don’t know we HAVE to teach “we don’t know”

    3- Again false- A designer could account for life but blind watchmaker processes could still be at work/ play

  47. You’re asking what non-ID-pushers would consider to be evidence for ID? Dude. It’s you ID-pushers’ fucking hypothesis. Or at least it would be you ID-pushers’ fucking hypothesis if it actually was a fucking hypothesis, as opposed to being the collection of unsupported (and sometimes unsupportable) evolution-don’t-work-therefore-ID assertions that ID actually is.
    Explicit gee, I dunno, what do you think would count as evidence for ID? evasive maneuver,

    I was merely trying to understand your side’s argument and criticism. It seems essentially that your side won’t believe unless they see the Designer in action in real time. Nothing wrong with that (even the Doubting Thomas said as much once upon a time). But this implies both sides will never agree.

    Neither side has come to this discussion to persuade the other. That is pretty obvious. I’m here to see if there is anything of value to learn. I learned a few things.

    I learned that Darwinists have a hard time defining what would count as positive evidence for them short of seeing the Designer himself. My reservation about ID is pretty much the reason Darwinists really reject ID. I’m surprised you guys weren’t more enthusiastic about my criticism of ID.

    Evolutionists don’t see the designer, so they presume a mindless mechanism was in play to create life. That’s reasonable, but it means both sides will be entrenched with few exceptions crossing the aisle on occasion.

    For me, I think absence of a Designer is sufficient reason to be concerned, but insufficient to disbelieve the possibility.

    Pony up an actual scientific hypothesis

    Unlike my colleagues, I don’t argue vigorously ID is science (I’m like Mike Gene in that regard), I merely argue that science can lead to a design inference. Whether a design inference is scientific in the formal sense is not my concern. You keep thinking I’m here to persuade you guys. That is not the case. I’m here to show my side the strengths and weaknesses of various evolutionary claims when contrasted with the criticism of evolutionism coming from the ID side.

    The strength of evolutionism is the absence of direct witness of the Designer in action. It’s a strong card to play. If I were a Darwinist, I would say, like Doubting Thomas, “show me the Designer and I’ll be convinced, anything short of that is unconvincing. Evolutionary theories may have their challenges, but highlighting problems in evolutionary theories will be insufficient to make the ID case believable. Show me the Designer, and I’ll believe.” If that is what most Darwinists believe, that’s fine. Nothing wrong with that, but it doesn’t excuse the strong belief in evolutionary theories that are deeply suspect on empirical and theoretical grounds.

    It’s you ID-pushers’ fucking hypothesis. Or at least it would be you ID-pushers’ fucking hypothesis if it actually was a fucking hypothesis,

    I’ll be sure to convey your sentiments to my friends, especially Christians who want to learn about evolutionism.

  48. Sal, may ask why you posted the Nonzero article? I notice you also posted it on UD.

  49. Some posts moved to guano. As usual, please bear in mind that my moving your post does not indicate that I disagree with it, or that I find it morally reprehensible, but that in my role as referee I deemed them to contravene the game-rules of this site.

Leave a Reply