A Quiz for Intelligent Design Critics

At UD, nullasalus has written a post in which he complains that critics of intelligent design often misrepresent ID.

In the near decade that I’ve been watching the Intelligent Design movement, one thing has consistently amazed me: the pathological inability of many ID critics to accurately represent what ID actually is, what claims and assumptions are made on the part of the most noteworthy ID proponents, and so on. Even ID critics who have been repeatedly informed about what ID is seem to have a knack for forgetting this in later exchanges. It’s frustrating – and this from a guy who’s not even a defender of ID as science.

But I’m interested in progress on this front, and I think I’ve come up with a good solution: let’s have an ID quiz. And let’s put this quiz to critics, in public, so at the very least we can see whether or not they’re even on the same page as the ID proponents they are criticizing.

Here are the questions:

1. Is Intelligent Design compatible with the truth of evolution, with evolution defined (as per wikipedia) as change in the inherited characteristics of biological populations over successive generations?

2. Is Intelligent Design compatible with common descent, with common descent defined as the claim that all living organisms share a common biological ancestor?

3. Does Intelligent Design, as offered by its most noteworthy proponents (Behe, Meyers, etc) propose to explain any purported incident of design by appeal to miracles or “supernatural” acts of any kind?

4. Does Intelligent Design, as offered by its most noteworthy proponents, argue that any given purported incident of design must have been performed by God, angels, or any “supernatural” being?

5. Is Intelligent Design, as offered by its most noteworthy proponents, compatible with atheism?

6. Does Intelligent Design, as offered by its most noteworthy proponents, rely on the bible, or any religious document? (as a source of evidence, etc)

7. Hypothetical scenario: a designer starts an evolutionary process. The designer arranges the environment and the organisms involved in the process in such a way so as to yield a particular, specified and intended result, with no intervention on the designer’s part aside from initially setting up the situation, organisms and environment. Is this an example of Intelligent Design in action, according to ID’s most noteworthy proponents?

8. Revisit 7. Stipulate that designer only used completely “natural” means in setting up the experiment and successfully predicting the result. Is this still an example of Intelligent Design, as offered by its most noteworthy proponents, in action?

9. An ID critic proposes that intelligent aliens, not God, may be responsible for a purported incident of Intelligent Design – for example, the origin of the bacterial flagellum. Has the ID critic proposed a scenario which, if true, would disprove Intelligent Design, as offered by its most noteworthy proponents?

10. A creationist argues that evolution must be false, because it isn’t mentioned in the Bible. Has the creationist made an Intelligent Design claim?

Feel free to provide your answers to the quiz.

It’s worth noting that questions 7 and 8 (is front loading an option? can the designer set things up at the start and not intervene ever again?) have attracted much attention at UD and nullasalus tweaked their formulation a bit.

This is not surprising. As much as the leading proponents of ID want to pretend that ID has nothing whatsoever to do with Christian apologetics (no, Sir), they don’t like the front loading scenario at all. A Designer who does not intervene? That smacks of deism. Can’t have that.

This is not a conspiracy theory. You can see what the leading lights of ID think of a front-loading scenario proposed some time ago by Michael Denton in his book Nature’s Destiny. Here is a roundtable discussion at ARN with all the usual suspects: Johnson, Dembski, Meyer, Nelson, Behe, and Wells.

Here is Dembski:

One can also understand natural law in a more general sense, of course, which lays the emphasis on the mechanistic or causal autonomy of nature. God doesn’t need to intervene to make the apple fall, because gravity is available to do that. And, on Denton’s account, presumably, God doesn’t need to intervene to create life, because some unknown self-organizing principle will do the trick.

But this whole notion of “design by law” turns out to be an unstable equilibrium.

If one focuses on “design,” then one looks for a designer–an intelligent agent–who will act at some point or another, even if only at the beginning of the story; and then laws fail. They’re insufficient. If one focuses on “law,” on the other hand, meaning the actual natural regularities, the designer inevitably fades away into a brute natural process. In fact I think this is what happened to the natural theologies of the early 19th century, which Denton admires. Science said, in effect, ‘Well, we can see the laws in action, anyway. Parsimony would tell us that the laws are sufficient, and to drop the designer as superfluous.’ The equilibrium tipped in favor of autonomous natural processes, and the designer lost his job. Permanently, say the philosophical naturalists. It is hard to see how Denton’s argument can avoid a similar fate.

Meyer:

[Laws] are poor generators of complexity, which by definition is equivalent to low probability, that is, to probabilities far less than 1.0. Laws are also exceedingly poor generators of specified complexity, such as characterizes all living things. By trying to locate the source of biological design in “programmed law,” Denton commits himself to an inadequate cause. Inadequate in principle, you might say. Really, he’s no better off, scientifically speaking, than any conventional self-organization theorist who never uses the word “design.” Natural regularities just aren’t up to the task of creating specified, aperiodic sequencing–that is to say, information.

To bridge the gap between the necessary building blocks and a functionally sufficient sequencing, I think Denton needs agency: an intelligence to elect one or a few particular outcomes from the vast sea of combinatorial possibilities allowed by natural law. Natural necessity or law won’t do it.

Behe:

I would agree. Here’s an analogy I used in my review of the book for Perspectives in Biology and Medicine. The gravitational constant and coefficient of friction of the pool table may enter precisely into a sensational trick shot by Minnesota Fats, but they do not completely account for it. To explain the event, you also need to refer to Minnesota Fats as a cause. Likewise, the origin of life on Earth may depend on the viscosity of water, the chemistry of iron, and other physical factors, but those factors by themselves do not explain how life started. As Steve said, a necessary condition is not a cause.

So all of “ID’s most noteworthy proponents” seem to answer No to questions 7 and 8.

37 thoughts on “A Quiz for Intelligent Design Critics

  1. Nullasalus may think that ID critics get it wrong. But I think it’s more accurate to say that ID proponents are all over the map on these issues. It has been my impression that Nullasalus holds a view of ID that is compatible with theistic evolution. But many ID proponents at UD are clearly opposed to theistic evolution. Nullasalus has no problem with common descent, but other ID proponents are clearly against the idea that humans descended from earlier apes.

  2. If we divide the arguments of the ID movement into two categories:

    1. Positive predictions as to what a Designer would do, and
    2. Negative arguments that ordinary evolutionary processes can’t explain adaptations that we see

    then we can see that the ID movement has done almost entirely #2. Nullasalus’s questions are almost entirely about #1. Which, as it has been mostly avoided by the ID movement, makes it hard to grapple with.

    “ID critics” have mostly been concerned to argue with #2. The #2 arguments are scientific arguments, the absence of arguments that speak to #1 leaves us without positive scientific predictions of what ID would do.

  3. 1. Is Intelligent Design compatible with the truth of evolution, with evolution defined (as per wikipedia) as change in the inherited characteristics of biological populations over successive generations?

    2. Is Intelligent Design compatible with common descent, with common descent defined as the claim that all living organisms share a common biological ancestor?

    Of course it’s the usual equivocation. The real question would be, is ID compatible with science, with scientific causes discovered and observed by humans? The answer is no, since it’s wholly about an intelligence and technical ability not tied to any means known to produce these, namely, biologic evolution and scientific/technologic development.

    3. Does Intelligent Design, as offered by its most noteworthy proponents (Behe, Meyers, etc) propose to explain any purported incident of design by appeal to miracles or “supernatural” acts of any kind?

    Constantly. Meyer even tries to make our intelligence out to be “non-material.” While I have little use for “materialism” or “naturalism,” this is the more typical code-word IDists use for miracles, etc. And we’re back to the fact that they’re not the least bit disturbed by the lack of any evidence for evolved intelligences who have developed technology anywhere near earth back when life first arose, or during the Cambrian Explosion.

    The messages are different (only in giving up the code-words, however) at churches and religious venues. I listened while Behe complained that (contrary to the usual ID cant) while people in fact may doubt “Darwinism,” once they invoke the supernatural they’re immediately dismissed. And to illustrate his complaint he had a slide of a sign evoking Ghostbusters, with the word “Ghost” and a line diagonally through it (as I recall, anyway). Yes, it’s terrible that science won’t invoke ghosts or gods for explanation, isn’t it? True, he didn’t say such things at Dover or in his books, but only for the sake of their truly pathetic implausible deniability.

    Anyway, the whole set of questions is predicated upon equivocations and the complete lack of meaningful claims made by ID, save those that make room for a great variety of god-claims. There’s no point in going through all of them.

    Glen Davidson

  4. 1. Is Intelligent Design compatible with the truth of evolution, with evolution defined (as per wikipedia) as change in the inherited characteristics of biological populations over successive generations?

    Yes, because ID is so formlessly vague that it’s compatible with absolutely anything whatsoever. Evolution via random mutations? Somebody-did-something is compatible with that. Special creation of distinct kinds? Somebody-did-something is compatible with that. Invisible pink unicorns dancing a quadrille around Nelson’s Column at the vernal equinox? Somebody-did-something is compatible with that…

    For ID to not be compatible with absolutely anything whatsoever, ID would have to have actual, like, content of its own.

    2. Is Intelligent Design compatible with common descent, with common descent defined as the claim that all living organisms share a common biological ancestor?

    Again: Yes, because ID is so formlessly vague that it’s compatible with absolutely anything whatsoever. Universal common descent? Somebody-did-something is compatible with that. Panspermic immigration from outer space? Somebody-did-something is compatible with that. A sentient black hole utilizing its nigh-absolute mastery of electromagnetism to rearrange molecules into a self-reproducing configuration? Somebody-did-something is compatible with that…

    3. Does Intelligent Design, as offered by its most noteworthy proponents (Behe, Meyers, etc) propose to explain any purported incident of design by appeal to miracles or “supernatural” acts of any kind?

    As far as I’ve been able to determine, the closest ID’s “most noteworthy proponents” come to explaining things is a vague, ill-defined handwave in the general direction of a vague, ill-defined Intelligence. So the answer here is “no”, technically speaking.

    4. Does Intelligent Design, as offered by its most noteworthy proponents, argue that any given purported incident of design must have been performed by God, angels, or any “supernatural” being?

    ID’s “most noteworthy proponents” are particularly noteworthy for not making any positive declarative statements about the Intelligent Designer they invoke, other than the twinned bare assertions that It is both (a) Intelligent, and (b) a Designer. Given that one of the few consistent motifs in pro-ID argumentation is that the Intelligent Designer should not be considered to be subject to the restrictions of Nature, it is reasonable to reach the tentative conclusion that ID requires a supernatural designer, on the grounds that if a natural Designer can’t do it, a supernatural Designer is the only remaining option.

    5. Is Intelligent Design, as offered by its most noteworthy proponents, compatible with atheism?

    Yes and no, depending on what sort of audience those “most noteworthy proponents” are speaking to. When they’re speaking to mostly-secular audiences, many ID-proponents state that the Designer could conceivably be space aliens; when they’re talking to Believing audiences (church groups, Creationist conferences, etc), they’re pretty clear that the Designer is the God of the Bible.

    6. Does Intelligent Design, as offered by its most noteworthy proponents, rely on the bible, or any religious document? (as a source of evidence, etc)

    Yes. ID is basically “old Creationist wine in new ID bottles”. ID argumentation is largely, if not entirely, built on concepts derived from religious documents, while at the same time making an (only partially successful) effort to avoid the specific phrases which expressed them in the original, religious, documents from which ID takes said concepts.

    7. Hypothetical scenario: a designer starts an evolutionary process. The designer arranges the environment and the organisms involved in the process in such a way so as to yield a particular, specified and intended result, with no intervention on the designer’s part aside from initially setting up the situation, organisms and environment. Is this an example of Intelligent Design in action, according to ID’s most noteworthy proponents?

    Yes, this is one of the essentially infinite number of scenarios that could be an instance of ID in action, none of which the terminally vague ID provides any reason to believe are more or less plausible than any other.

    8. Revisit 7. Stipulate that designer only used completely “natural” means in setting up the experiment and successfully predicting the result. Is this still an example of Intelligent Design, as offered by its most noteworthy proponents, in action?

    Yes, this is one of the essentially infinite number of scenarios that could be an instance of ID in action, none of which the terminally vague ID provides any reason to believe are more or less plausible than any other.

    9. An ID critic proposes that intelligent aliens, not God, may be responsible for a purported incident of Intelligent Design – for example, the origin of the bacterial flagellum. Has the ID critic proposed a scenario which, if true, would disprove Intelligent Design, as offered by its most noteworthy proponents?

    Since “somebody did something” is so overarchingly vague that it cannot be disproved by any scenario or evidence, no, this would not disprove ID.

    10. A creationist argues that evolution must be false, because it isn’t mentioned in the Bible. Has the creationist made an Intelligent Design claim?

    Yes, they have. ID’s core claim is that “somebody did something”, and the Creationist’s claim defines the “somebody” as God Himself.

  5. (1) Y
    (2) Y
    (3) N
    (4) N
    (5) Y
    (6) N
    (7) Y
    (8) Y
    (9) N
    (10) N

    It’s not that we don’t understand intelligent design; it’s that we think it’s wrong.

  6. The set of questions looks like an attempted, “Gotcha; you can’t prove ID is not science.”

    Since its formal inception back in the early 1970s, ID/creationism has produced absolutely nothing except a series of word-gaming morphs to get around the courts, an elaborate Potempkin village of cargo cult science, and a following that is ignorant of real science but enamored of pseudoscience.

    Meanwhile, during that same 50 year interval, real science has been steadily marching on.

    Whatever ID/creationists want others to think they are, they can’t hide the fact that ID/creationism is, and remains, completely sterile; and that fact alone is sufficient reason to reject it.

  7. No doubt the answers will be collated into a scientific report.

    1. Depends which ID proponent you ask.
    2. Depends which ID proponent you ask.
    3. “Intelligent design is just the Logos theology of John’s Gospel restated in the idiom of information theory.”
    4. See 3.
    5. Would you like it to be?
    6. See 3.
    7. See 1 and 2.
    8. Why is natural in quotation marks?
    9. Don’t know.
    10. Depends how big your tent is.

  8. It’s not that we don’t understand intelligent design; it’s that we think it’s wrong.

    I don’t know who you are referring to by using “we”, but I think it’s pretty clear by the answers here that many refuse to understand ID because if they actually understood it (as a concept) as proposed and did not insert their political/ideological straw men, most of their “arguments” against ID would evaporate.

  9. davehooke,

    I hadn’t seen Behe’s candid admission — that is indeed very revealing. I’m sure most ID fans would have preferred he hadn’t said that. I was erring on the side of charity, thinking here of what they want us to think that they think, rather than what they are rationally committed to, whether they want to admit it or not.

    (Likewise, Eliot Sober has a very nice article arguing that ID is necessarily committed to a supernatural designer and cannot accept the “maybe it’s aliens!” move — and I think Sober is entirely right about this — but it’s not the Official Policy. I took it that Nullasalus was quizzing us about the Official Policy.)

    There are lots of things about nullasalus’s list that are actually quite interesting. One is its repeated use of “most noteworthy proponents”, even though there’s a fair bit of disagreement between them and in fact I’m not sure there’s any consensus about who exactly these “most noteworthy proponents”.

    I’m also really intrigued and amused by the phrase, “propose to explain”. On its face it’s just awkward writing — one may “explain” or one may “propose an explanation,” but “propose to explain” seems infelicitous. But I think this unhappy expression reveals something — that there is no ID explanation at all — there is only the idea of such an explanation.

    ID is a dead-end of inquiry because it’s untestable, and it’s untestable because (among other things) it refuses to posit anything at all about the nature of the designer. If no features of the designer are posited, then we can’t draw any inferences about what the designer would (or would not) have done, and so nothing can be tested. ID is the mere appearance of an explanation. It doesn’t even explain what creationism does. Creationism is just wrong; ID isn’t even wrong. (This is why ID is not “creationism in a cheap tuxedo”.)

    And since the “we can’t identify the designer!” move is just their way of trying to get all the anti-materialists (i.e. anti-progressives and anti-leftists — we cannot forget that “materialism” is a loaded term here!!) under one Big Tent — it’s fair to say that theory of intelligent design was intelligently designed to not be a theory at all.

  10. Kantian Naturalist:
    (1) Y
    (2) Y
    (3) N
    (4) N
    (5) Y
    (6) N
    (7) Y
    (8) Y
    (9) N
    (10) N

    It’s not that we don’t understand intelligent design; it’s that we think it’s wrong.

    ^^ THIS ^^

    I took the test (blind) and got the same answers as KN (with an “on their good days” asterisk against Answers 3,4, & 5).
    [For those of you who have trouble with ID-Math(tm), that’s significant at the p=.001 level]

    The entire questionnaire is a beautiful example of ‘framing’; the answers do not lead to any useful conclusion, because the questions were worded in a hopelessly biased manner.

  11. Will nullasalus be following up with a full, detailed description of “what ID actually is”, acceptable to all ID proponents, so that we can check our answers?

  12. davehooke: Want to change that answer now or stick with what you have?

    I took the question to be about the pretend theory that ID proponents put forward when they are keeping their guard up to make sure that they don’t let on what they really believe.

    And I took KN to be responding to that pretend theory. So his answers were correct.

    ID proponents are terrible at pretending.

  13. I don’t know if my point above — about why ID is a pseudo-explanation — needs to be clarified, but I’ll make it again just in case.

    The question that design theory would like us to ask is

    under what conditions is ‘x is ordered such-and-such-wise, therefore x was probably designed’ a good inference?

    The heart of the problem is that this is the wrong question to ask. The right question to ask is

    how we can test the hypothesis ”x is ordered such-and-such-wise, therefore x was probably designed’?

    The whole ID schtick rests on this subtle conflation of argument and explanation, of goodness-of-inference and testing-of-hypothesis, and assuming that since they have proposed criteria for the goodness of the inference (all their noise about “functional complex specified information”), that’s all that needs doing. As they see it, the only reason why their theory hasn’t caught on is because of the ideological blinders worn by academics and the propaganda war that the Right, in the classic style of the paranoid anti-intellectual, is always simultaneously on the brink of winning and losing.

    A bit of reflection on “functional complex specified information” will show how useless that idea is. All that notion does is quantify, or appear to quantify, how well-organized or ordered something is. It doesn’t tell us anything about the conditions under which “x is ordered, therefore x is probably designed” is a good inference. It merely stipulates that there’s a tipping point — as things get more and more complex, the likelihood that they were designed increases.

    But there’s no justification for that claim — it just functions like a huge assumption, and all the kerfluffle turns on how intuitive one finds that assumption. And now, it seems, the worldview that one already accepts, antecedently, strongly constrains how intuitive one finds that assumption. So we’re already well outside the domain of empirical science, or any kind of inquiry in which the world gets a vote in what we say about it.

  14. I used to point out that before Kepler and Newton, modelling the solar system still required epicycles. It had no coherent theory.

    Darwin similarly modelled evolution without discrete genes. At a deep level his model made no sense.

    This is something that ID advovates simply can’t grasp. Sometimes it is possible to get the shape of things approximately right and have little details poking out. The earth is not a sphere. Orbits are not circular. Inheritance is not blended, nor is it exactly Mendelian.

    But imperfect models provide a framework for testing by observation and experiment. That is why nothing in biology makes sense without evolution. It is a body with no skeketon. It can’t stand.

    And that is why ID is not scientific. Not because it is wrong, but because it provides no framework for research. There’s no shape to it. No constraints. Nothing to theorize about.

  15. petrushka: And that is why ID is not scientific. Not because it is wrong, but because it provides no framework for research. There’s no shape to it. No constraints. Nothing to theorize about.

    ID/creationists have been “arguing” like this for a half century now. These are basically the reframing arguments meant to get around the courts in the US.

    A real test of ID/creationism would come if anyone in the ID/creationist camp actually sits down and writes up a research proposal and submits it for funding; and even Behe hasn’t done that. Not one ID/creationist ever has; and the reason they haven’t is because ID/creationism is nothing but word-gaming to get the imprimatur of science attached to a sectarian dogma and then get that dogma into federally funded public education.

    Ask any ID/creationist to write up a research proposal and all you will get is avoidance and more word games like the one we are seeing. We will never see a research proposal coming out of that community that opens up further lines of investigation that can be followed up by others who don’t have a stake in ID/creationism’s sectarian roots.

    ID/creationists don’t know how to write a research proposal because they don’t really know what science is. They don’t know scientific concepts and they don’t know how scientific research is done; and that means that they can’t understand why ID/creationism is not science.

  16. Mike Elzinga: ID/creationists don’t know how to write a research proposal because they don’t really know what science is. They don’t know scientific concepts and they don’t know how scientific research is done; and that means that they can’t understand why ID/creationism is not science.

    But they’re very good at the tu quoque response, as in “maybe intelligent design isn’t a confirmed scientific theory, but neither is evolution, so there!”

    Needless to say, they excel at muddying the relevant waters here, esp. between (a) the difference between observable and posited entities in scientific theorizing and (b) the difference between posited entities in empirical explanations and posited entities in metaphysical speculation.

    I’m all in favor of metaphysical speculation (unlike some of the neo-positivists here), but confusing that with empirical explanation is a recipe for disaster.

  17. Kantian Naturalist: But they’re very good at the tu quoque response, as in “maybe intelligent design isn’t a confirmed scientific theory, but neither is evolution, so there!”

    And it is those tu quoque responses that reveal their ignorance of what is actually known in science about evolution and the origins of the molecules of life.

    ID/creationists think they are smart because they have practiced the art of copy/pasting up a storm; but they have no idea what any of it means because they butcher everything they copy/paste to fit what they already believe.

    Knowing how to write a research proposal requires knowing not only basic scientific concepts; it requires knowing how to find the “handles” on the phenomena one is proposing to measure. ID/creationists don’t even know what that means.

  18. William J. Murray: I don’t know who you are referring to by using “we”, but I think it’s pretty clear by the answers here that many refuse to understand ID because if they actually understood it (as a concept) as proposed and did not insert their political/ideological straw men, most of their “arguments” against ID would evaporate.

    That’s not clear to me at all, William.

    ID is not possible to understand because its proponents propose different and contradictory things. There ,i>is no single theory of ID. In fact, I’d say there isn’t a theory at all in any scientific sense of the word.

  19. Mike Behe:
    Our intelligence depends critically on physical structures in the brain which are irreducibly complex. Extrapolating from this sample of one, it may be that all possible natural designers require irreducibly complex structures which themselves were designed. If so, then at some point a supernatural designer must get into the picture. I myself find this line of reasoning persuasive. In my estimation, although possible in a broadly permissive sense, it is not plausible that the original intelligent agent is a natural entity. … Thus, in my judgment it is implausible that the designer is a natural entity.” “Reply to My Critics” Biology and Philosophy 16: 685-709, 2001.

    William Dembski:
    …but let’s admit that our aim, as proponents of intelligent design, is to beat naturalistic evolution, and the scientific materialism that undergirds it, back to the Stone Age.“ DEALING WITH THE BACKLASH AGAINST INTELLIGENT DESIGN version 1.1, April 14, 2004”

    Phillip Johnson:
    This [the intelligent design movement] isn’t really, and never has been, a debate about science, it’s about religion and philosophy.” World Magazine, 30 November 1996

    The Intelligent Design movement starts with the recognition that ‘In the beginning was the Word,’ and ‘In the beginning God created.’ Establishing that point isn’t enough, but it is absolutely essential to the rest of the gospel message.” Foreword to Creation, Evolution, & Modern Science (2000)

    Our strategy has been to change the subject a bit so that we can get the issue of intelligent design, which really means the reality of God, before the academic world and into the schools.” American Family Radio (10 January 2003)

  20. Design-by-aliens is a perfectly possible explanation for such structrures as the bacterial flagellum. If one is certain that the ONLY way such a structure can arise is through intelligence, that intelligence has to exist in some form at the time.

    But aliens themselves demand an explanation. They are presumably complex, and hence (if ID is a necessary condition for complexity) intelligently designed. Of course, aliens are conveniently non-investigatable. I would not accuse ID-the-theory of insisting directly upon a supernatural explanation, but the supernatural is generally the stopping-point for breaking the infinite regress. ‘Extraterrestrial’ might as well mean ‘supernatural’, for all that it provides.

    On a side-note, nullasalus has indicated an interest in passing his quiz round ID critics, but contrariwise has stated he has no interest whatever in what denizens of TSZ may think, a site he views as an extension of ‘the fever swamp’.

  21. #7 and #8 are interesting, if only for the contortions demanded from some ID-ists to avoid disagreeing with others. Some have asserted that the processes of ‘natural’ evolution cannot result in increase in ‘complex functional information’ (however each of those parameters is actually defined, if at all). That would presumably apply to instances set in train and then left to run by a Designer.

    If not, then there must be some instances of natural evolution which can result in such increase – even if only those deliberately started. This still begs the question as to what sets them apart from evolutionary arenas not set in train by a designer, apart from the obvious.

  22. Students: at the end of the hour, we will collect your quiz papers, shred them, and assign failing grades.

  23. It is clear that Nullasalus’s intended answers to questions 7 and 8 are both Yes. That’s the official line, anyway. In their natural habitat they answer No. You can’t have a non-interventionist God. All of the noteworthy ID proponents have been caught on record about that.

    At UD, gpuccio answers Yes, but to question 7 and No to question 8:

    7… It depends. If we can show that the setting of the environment, and the setting of the organisms in the environment, or the organisms themselves (if they were not present in advance), exhibit complex functional information, then the answer is Yes, but then the design inference is limited to that setting. What happens after is no more a design event, if no new complex functional information appears. That would be a front loading ID theory (for which, IMO, there is absolutely no empirical evidence).

    8… Again, objection to “natural”. If “natural” means that there is no violation of physical laws as we know them today, the answer is Yes. But, if it means also that there is no violation of probabilistic laws, then the answer is No. Even if the events were designed, in that case, design would not be detectable, and so that theory is not a scientific ID theory.

  24. olegt,

    GP does distinguish himself by nailing his colours to the mast, and recognising realms of applicability of a scientific hypothesis of ID. Some others – Joe G, for example – latch on to any ‘ID’ notion available, baraminology included.

  25. gpuccio also hesitates to disassociate miracles and ID (question 3):

    Maybe the answer is No, but it depends on how we define “miracles” and “supernatural”. Those words are irremediably ambiguous.

    Damn right, gpuccio. Those “most noteworthy proponents (Behe, Meyers, etc)” just won’t have it without a puff of smoke.

  26. olegt:
    gpuccio also hesitates to disassociate miracles and ID (question 3):
    Damn right, gpuccio. Those “most noteworthy proponents (Behe, Meyers, etc)” just won’t have it without a puff of smoke.

    GP:

    But again, while God and angels are fine for me, I object to “supernatural”.

  27. Nullasalus re TSZ:

    He doesn’t like TSZ because some people here are “swampers”.

    He doesn’t like “swampers” because some “swampers” post rude pictures.

    He doesn’t claim that any “swamper” has ever posted a rude picture here.

    And he doesn’t claim that any “swamper” who posts here has ever posted a rude picture.

    And he tolerates JoeG at UD because JoeG doesn’t post rude pictures at his own blog even though he is very rude to me (and some others).

    He ignores the fact that JoeG posted rude pictures here.

    And he ignores the fact that Mark F and Alan Fox post at UD. And possibly in the swamp.

    And ignores the fact that many of us objected strenuously to the rude pictures in the swamp.

    I think if Nullasalus sorted through all those overlapping and non-overlapping sets, he would find his arguments against posting here don’t have a leg to stand on.

    And so I extend, yet again, my invitation to him/her 🙂

  28. Lizzie: I think if Nullasalus sorted through all those overlapping and non-overlapping sets, he would find his arguments against posting here don’t have a leg to stand on.

    In the meantime, there’s a very interesting disagreement between nullasalus and vjtorley, in the UD thread: An exchange with an ID skeptic.

    nullasalus: VJT, I have to ask. Why do you argue in defense of ID, and then represent ID as the one thing every major proponent – from Behe, to Dembski, to Meyer – insist it’s not, and turn it into theology?

  29. Nullasalus:

    If I see Joe throwing sexual slurs at Liddle, putting up picture of her RL self to deface, and half the things the swampers do when they’re particularly riled, I’m going to pull no punches and call him out on that immediately. Anyone who does that, not just Joe, will be disinvited from any thread I host until they apologize and knock it off – regardless of where they do it. This isn’t about merely saying that Liddle’s full of it. That’s not a nasty personal insult. That’s, half the time, putting it mildly.

    sheesh, it’s hard to know where to start… I wonder why he thinks Joe is banned here?

    (Sorry, off-topic, but, geez)

  30. Lizzie:
    Nullasalus:

    sheesh, it’s hard to know where to start…I wonder why he thinks Joe is banned here?

    (Sorry, off-topic, but, geez)

    After Nullasalus takes Joe to task for his attacks on you, Joe comes back with a flat out lie.

    Joe G: “I was banned from TSZ for getting into it with the evos who refused to comment in good faith. “

    No Joe, you were banned for posting a link to porn and then cursing out the blog owner when she asked you to promise to stop.

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