Intelligent Design predicts…

Critics of intelligent design (myself included) often claim that intelligent design is a poor explanation. One of the many reasons is that it does not make any novel predictions of its own. In response IDists have proposed several “ID predictions”, for example:

http://post-darwinist.blogspot.com/2008/01/nine-predictions-if-intelligent-design.html

Which is an interesting list because it lists things that “won’t happen” – strange because they cannot be falsified unless one has infinite time, they can’t even be used as falsifiers because of the very soft nature of the claims they make.

I think the inability of ID to proffer mechanisms limits its ability to make predictions, so it must settle with being unhappy with the current state of evolutionary theory (and “materialism”) instead. Anything remotely positive seems to be predicated on “what a designer would do” – and here ID finds itself at odds with … itself:

Q Intelligent design says nothing about the intelligent designer’s motivations?

A The only statement it makes about that is that the designer had the motivation to make the structure that is designed.”

http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/dover/day11pm2.html

So ID has to make predictions without any motivations or mechanisms.

Let’s look at a couple of IDs more widely touted predictions:

  1. Less Junk DNA:

“From an ID perspective, however, it is extremely unlikely that an organism would expend its resources on preserving and transmitting so much ‘junk’.” , Jonathan Wells, “Using Intelligent Design Theory to Guide Scientific Research,” Progress in Complexity, Information, and Design, 3.1.2 (Nov. 2004)

It is strange that a claim is made about “an organism” (or perhaps by proxy, evolution), rather than the designer. Of course from an evolutionary standpoint anything in the genome has the possibility of being used as genetic material to create new capabilities, so one can argue that it’s all valuable to some degree.

More honest ID predictions would be:

“No Junk DNA” – A designer of such ability would not be wasteful

“Genome size should strongly correlate to organismal complexity” – The designer’s ability to economically create complex morphology should be reflected in optimized genomes, both scaling together.

2 .“Few transitional fossils”:

It’s harder to find this explicitly stated as it usually expressed in terms of “the fossil record not supporting Darwinism” – for example in link above:

“3. Complete series of transitional fossils will not usually be found because most proposed series have never existed. Eventually, researchers will give up on ideologically driven nonsense and address the history that IS there. They will focus on discovering the mechanisms that drive sudden bursts of creativity.”

So let’s look at human designers and one of their more successful designs:

History of Cars at 6000

From: http://bestcarsauto.blogspot.com/2012/05/a-different-of-american-automobile.html

Cars have evolved incredibly in the past 200 years, and models now change some features annually. It must therefore be true that

“ID predicts many more transitional forms than evolution”

So get digging, IDists.

*edited*

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23 thoughts on “Intelligent Design predicts…

  1. YEC here.
    What with the predictions? ID attacks evolutions predictions gailure. its up to evolutionists to defend themselves. They don’t do a good job with the fossil record.
    its just waving away lack of intermediates, in betweens, transitional, etc.
    The fossil record looks as it would IF evolution had never happened.
    These data points of biology say no more then we were here once.
    ONLY the geological deposition claims MAKE any claim for evolution. The biology is non existent for evolution as its not fossilizing process or transition.
    Its an option the fossils just show diversity in some rich area that was deposited all together in some geological event of size.
    Anyways. The connections between fossils are not there nor dead ends nor even vestigial features along the way from one thing evolving into another.
    Where are the vestigial features in the fossil record NEVERMIND useful features??

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  2. Hi Robert. We agree it’s not science then, just a rhetorical movement.

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  3. The theory of Intelligent Design, is that the theory of ID is true. It can be falsified by showing that some parts of it are not true*

    *Note: I reserve the right to change the parts that you show are not true if need be, to once again confirm that the theory is true.

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  4. This thread is clearly titled “Intelligent Design predicts…”. If anyone (I’m looking at you, phoodoo) wants to start another thread on what the theory of evolution predicts, they will be very welcome.

    Comments about ToE in this thread are off-topic. I’ll move them to the sandbox (cont’d) for now.

    ETA:

    That is a serious suggestion. If phoodoo would like to write an OP on what the theory of evolution predicts, he/she has contributor status and can post it as an OP (it will just need an admin to publish it). I can move the off-topic posts there from Sandbox (cont’d) once the thread is opened.

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  5. Looking around me I see many products of intelligent design – computers, monitors, books, modem, printer, stapler, diary, desk, chair, bar of chocolate, mouse mat, pack of cards, light fittings, some wooden puzzles, etc.
    They share certain characteristics:
    – manufacturers’ logos
    – simple geometrical shapes (rectangles, ovals)
    – they can (with a couple of exceptions) be disassembled into component parts and reassembled
    If the IDers really want to demonstrate that life was intelligently designed, they should be looking for the designer(s) logo, and promoting spare part and prosthetic surgery.

    Roy

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  6. “From an ID perspective, however, it is extremely unlikely that an organism would expend its resources on preserving and transmitting so much ‘junk’.” , Jonathan Wells, “Using Intelligent Design Theory to Guide Scientific Research,” Progress in Complexity, Information, and Design, 3.1.2 (Nov. 2004)

    Interestingly, this is just the sort of “argument from bad design” against which creationists/IDists regularly admonish us. Reason being: your puny, depraved human mind could not possibly penetrate G…, er, Designer’s plans.

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  7. Intelligent Design, if it is an extrapolation of known intelligence (and that’s a very important consideration), predicts that design is iterative. This is because the path and the particulars of execution contain many unknowns even if the goal is clearly conceived. Furthermore the process is the means by which the gaps in knowledge are filled, slowly. Finally, the more complicated the design, the likelihood of multiple designers increases.

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  8. The prediction concerning Junk DNA is a particularly outrageous one. When confronted with examples of bad design, ID types are insistent that we cannot know what the motives of the Designer might be.

    But when confronted with Junk DNA, they are insistent that it must be true that there is none. Why? Well, that is a prediction of Intelligent Design. Why is it a predicion of Intelligent Design? Well, see the Designer would not do anything that dysfunctional. Which is basically a Good Design argument.

    So they both do and do not allow interpretation of the motives of the Designer.

    (I should also add that similarities of patterns in junk DNA are a major evidence of common descent, and if the ID people can make junk DNA go away, then they may not have to deal with those.)

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  9. Alan Fox:
    This thread is clearly titled “Intelligent Design predicts…”. If anyone (I’m looking at you, phoodoo) wants to start another thread on what the theory of evolution predicts, they will be very welcome.

    Comments about ToE in this thread are off-topic. I’ll move them to the sandbox (cont’d) for now.

    ETA:

    That is a serious suggestion. If phoodoo would like to write an OP on what the theory of evolution predicts, he/she has contributor status and can post it as an OP (it will just need an admin to publish it). I can move the off-topic posts there from Sandbox (cont’d) once the thread is opened.

    I’ve given phoodoo author permissions.

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  10. I finally got around to reading the linked article. I don’t see that any of O’Leary’s predictions are entailed by intelligent design creationism, even if one generously assumes that there is some as yet unarticulated scientific hypothesis on which predictions might be based.

    I haven’t been giving traffic to UD for some time. Has any intelligent design creationist ever posted any positive, testable prediction based on their beliefs?

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  11. I think the trouble is that without a mechanism or a motive, *anything* is possible.

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  12. Patrick: I haven’t been giving traffic to UD for some time. Has any intelligent design creationist ever posted any positive, testable prediction based on their beliefs?

    Yes. Casey Luskin.

    I foolishly started to have a go at Kairosfocus’s essay challenge, and it was linked as a useful resource. I don’t think I’ll bother to finish the essay, but I did consider an OP on Luskin (not to steal RichardHughes’ thunder, but because it’s worth a deconstruction in its own right. Maybe.)

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  13. Yes. Casey Luskin.

    Thanks for that, Lizzie.

    Unfortunately for the intelligent design creationists, this is pathetic. Here are Luskin’s predictions:

    (1) Natural structures will be found that contain many parts arranged in intricate patterns that perform a specific function (e.g. complex and specified information).

    (2) Forms containing large amounts of novel information will appear in the fossil record suddenly and without similar precursors.

    (3) Convergence will occur routinely. That is, genes and other functional parts will be re-used in different and unrelated organisms.

    (4) Much so-called “junk DNA” will turn out to perform valuable functions.

    (1) is an observation, not a prediction, and “information” is not rigorously defined.

    (2) he supports with a brief mention of the Cambrian explosion. The responses to Meyer’s book put paid to this one.

    (3) seems to be false on its face, a rejection of common descent without evidence, unless I’m missing something.

    (4) fails to define “much” and ignores the C-Value Paradox mentioned here recently.

    Perhaps Luskin could be persuaded to come discuss his predictions here.

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  14. Lizzie: (not to steal RichardHughes’ thunder, but because it’s worth a deconstruction in its own right. Maybe.)

    It’s communal thunder.

    Invite KF here for his essay challenge. I don’t trust UD enough given their moderation to let good entrants through. Didn’t Keiths have a pop?

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  15. (2) Forms containing large amounts of novel information will appear in the fossil record suddenly and without similar precursors.

    How do you measure the amount of information in a fossil???

    Roy

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  16. Here, Barry talks about transitional fossils, approvingly quoting Philip Johnson:

    http://www.uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/new-ud-glossary-additions/

    “Of course, every one of those Corvettes was designed by engineers. The Corvette sequence – like the sequence of Beethoven’s symphonies to the opinions of the United States Supreme Court – does not illustrate naturalistic evolution at all. It illustrates how intelligent designers will typically achieve their purposes by adding variations to a basic design plan. . . . [These sequences] show that what biologists present as proof of ‘evolution’ or ‘common ancestry’ is just as likely to be evidence of common design.”

    So, ID does predict MORE transitional fossils, then.

    So Barry is clearly arguing out of both sides of his mouth here:
    http://www.uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/once-more-from-the-top-on-the-fossil-record/

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  17. Richardthughes:
    Here, Barry talks about transitional fossils, approvingly quoting Philip Johnson:

    http://www.uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/new-ud-glossary-additions/

    “Of course, every one of those Corvettes was designed by engineers. The Corvette sequence – like the sequence of Beethoven’s symphonies to the opinions of the United States Supreme Court – does not illustrate naturalistic evolution at all. It illustrates how intelligent designers will typically achieve their purposes by adding variations to a basic design plan. . . . [These sequences] show that what biologists present as proof of ‘evolution’ or ‘common ancestry’ is just as likely to be evidence of common design.”

    So, ID does predict MORE transitional fossils, then.

    So Barry is clearly arguing out of both sides of his mouth here:
    http://www.uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/once-more-from-the-top-on-the-fossil-record/

    Of course, automobiles don’t form objective nested hierarchies, which destroys the analogy he is trying to make.

    If intelligent design creationists don’t want to be called creationists, they should stop using (long refuted) creationist arguments.

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  18. Since most manufactured products are now produced by robots following digital instructions, it would be interesting to try to form a nested hierarchy from the generations of CAD/CAM code.

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