Is ID really a reasonable alternative to “it just happened”?

One of our regular commenters explains why they stick with ID:

ID is a perfectly reasonable alternative to “it just happened, that’s all.”

Yet that “reasonable alternative” is just “it happened like that because it was Intelligently Designed“. ID as yet has no specifics as to who, when, what, how, why etc.

So it seems to me that said commenter has just replaced “it just happened” with another phrase that means exactly the same thing but now they can be an intellectually fulfilled theist. 

It just happened == It was just designed that way

It adds nothing to our understanding, but presumably it counts as an explanation to ID supporters whereas “it just happened” does not. And as it’s mostly about point-scoring in the non-reality based community this appears to be sufficient for them to satisfy their intellectual thirst for “truth”. Or am I wrong? Is their search for “truth” a sham, they already know the answers?

ID seems mostly concerned with what evolution cannot do. As such it has no explanatory power of it’s own to detail what actually happened. So this seems to undercut the claim that it’s a perfectly reasonable alternative to “it just happened”.

Given that there are as many versions of ID as there are ID supporters I’d ask each specifically what it was that “just happened” and how ID is a reasonable alternative to that? Do ID supporters actually consider ID an actual explanation for anything at all? If so, what? And how does that compare to the reality based community’s explanation for the same thing?

I’ve been deliberately coy about the thing it was that “just happened”. In fact, the commenter who made the claim made it without reference to a specific “it”. I want to encourage IDers to identify for themselves that “it”, and explain why adding “it was designed” adds to our knowledge, why what is described is a perfectly reasonable alternative to and detail who is saying in the first place that “it just happened”, whatever “it” happens to be.

220 thoughts on “Is ID really a reasonable alternative to “it just happened”?”

  1. OMagain Post author

    If you were not you’d say if you thought malaria was being kept dangerous by your designer, or not. But you are scared of the consequences of your own beliefs.

    At least Behe had the guts to say what the logical consequences of his beliefs are.

  2. newton

    phoodoo: newton,

    What!! How dare you say that Newton, that is entirely against the rules!! You know that.

    You claimed it was not against the rules which if I assume you are posting in good faith is true which assumption it seems is not now necessary.

    Look, it is perfectly fine to lie here, BUT, you CAN NOT, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES WHATSOEVER point out that something is a lie.

    A lie requires the intention to deceive, assuming that intention would be assuming the writer was not posting in good faith. You may point out a statement is false without the assumption of deceptive intent.

    So even though Alan can send me a message and say they have lifted the rules about calling out lies, and encourage me to accuse more people of lying, apparently Alan was just trying to trick with that message, perhaps to try to get me suspended again, but the rules have not changed!

    So you say, no one has yet produced the message. It seems like a strange position for Alan to take since you could produce the message easily . Perhaps you misinterpreted it, be glad to give you a second opinion

  3. RoyLT

    Kantian Naturalist: Where things get weird is that they end up defending a view that’s called structual realism, according to which what’s really real is not any kind of “stuff” or “things” but structures.

    Thanks for the references. I will take a look at the book, and while I am certainly not an academic philosopher, I am looking for ports of entry to begin growing in that direction.

    The Stanford reference was not at all what I expected from the term Structural Realism. The idea that nothing exists as a lone entity but is instead only definable by the sum of its interactions with other entities seems obvious and perfectly rational to me. From quarks to nation-states, only relation to other objects can give something a specific identity. The small amount of Kant that I have ready confirmed that for me and gave the idea some organization.

    However, I’m about 1/3 of the way through the Stanford article and I see that the ‘Structural’ refers to the structure of scientific theories rather than of reality. It has already given me quite a bit to chew on.

  4. OMagain Post author

    phoodoo,

    So you allow dog bites? But just not too deep?

    Did I say that? Please quote me.

    A more apt comparison would be that I own a dog, and it bites. I train that dog so that it no longer bites. But unbeknownst to me at night your god sneaks in and beats the dog and trains it to bite again.

    If, as you seem to believe, misery is a necessary precondition for us to learn and grow then it would seem that over time misery would remain constant. For every painful disease we cure, your god invents another. For every parasite that blinds children that we eradicate, your god invents another. And that seems to suit you just find. It does not reflect well on your psychological state.

  5. OMagain Post author

    And phoodoo, still waiting for the details on where I lied. I don’t expect you to retract the accusation however, that would require a sense of honor.

  6. Kantian NaturalistKantian Naturalist

    RoyLT:

    The Stanford reference was not at all what I expected from the term Structural Realism. The idea that nothing exists as a lone entity but is instead only definable by the sum of its interactions with other entities seems obvious and perfectly rational to me. From quarks to nation-states, only relation to other objects can give something a specific identity. The small amount of Kant that I have read confirmed that for me and gave the idea some organization.

    I do think there’s an important argument to be made for metaphysical holism, according to which anything that exists, exists only in relation to other things. (In Buddhism this is called “dependent origination“.) I think that something like this can be found in Kant as well but I’d have to think more about how one would do so.

    But you’re right that the whole debate about structural realism in philosophy of science has nothing to do with that!

    Personally I find the idea of structural realism a bit hard to swallow. I’m fine with the idea that reality is “ultimately” characterized in terms of (take your pick) patterns, flows, processes, powers, or forces. Certainly those patters/processes must have some modal structure to them in order to ground any claims about them at all.

    But the more I think about it (based on conceptual arguments and scientific explanations), the more I think that all talk about “objects” and “properties” — the whole conceptual framework descended from Aristotle to Kant to Kantians like Peter Strawson — is a linguistic elaboration of cognitive habits deeply rooted in mammalian neurobiology and explained by evolutionary theory.

    Put otherwise, we classify the elements of our experience as being “objects,” as having “properties,” as “enduring over time” etc. because doing so is central to how our neural architecture extracts usable information from the environment and coordinates that information with bodily movement aimed at satisfying the organism’s proximal and ultimate goals.

    When we are able to temporarily decouple awareness from action (as in mindfulness practice), we can become aware that the whole conceptual framework we rely on for everyday living and practical coping is not imposed on us by the world, but rather what we impose on the world in order to cope with it.

    Ah, well, that was only slightly off-topic!

  7. RoyLT

    Kantian Naturalist: Put otherwise, we classify the elements of our experience as being “objects,” as having “properties,” as “enduring over time” etc.

    Because of the types of interactions that we experience with our universe and its contents, it seems that our idea of reality could hardly be otherwise. Since we evolved to deal with medium-sized slowly moving objects, our perception is naturally focused to that specific resolution.

    As you say, through mindful practice we can recognize our bias. The study of subatomic particles or the contemplation of infinites (shoutout to @keiths’ OP on the subject from last year) provide such opportunities aside from the obvious philosophical ruminations.

    And to be honest, we are not very far off topic. The tendency of the human mind to ascribe intent to inanimate objects and the penchant for finding patterns in largely random arrays are similarly ingrained by evolution and need to be actively resisted. E.O. Wilson is quite eloquent on the ingroup survival value of ascribing a teleological and moralistic structure to an otherwise impartial universe. Only conscious awareness of our biases can combat our tendency to accept comforting myths where cold objectivity is called for.

  8. phoodoo

    OMagain:
    And phoodoo, still waiting for the details on where I lied. I don’t expect you to retract the accusation however, that would require a sense of honor.

    You said “after we have eradicated the suffering from malaria,…”, then I said “So man can eradicate suffering from malaria” and you said, “No, that’s impossible…”

    Its not necessarily a lie, its quite possible you don’t have a clue what you want to say.

  9. Alan FoxAlan Fox

    phoodoo: But last week you said lying is now Ok on this site. In fact you sent me a private message not only telling me you have changed the rules about lying, but in fact ENCOURAGING me to lie more, to increase the click count here on TSZ, so what are you talking about Alan?

    Assuming this is an attempt at humour…

    Have you forgotten already?

    Yes, remind me. I can’t find any record of a PM* that I might have sent you within the last couple of years.

    And what’s a click count?

    ETA *other than an announcement that I sent to all members

  10. OMagain Post author

    phoodoo,
    Quotes with links. Let’s show the audience my lie in context. You can do it, or I will, as you prefer.

    And we’ll never be free of malaria because every time we have a breakthrough in treatment/prevention your designer will just up the ante and get us back to suffering. That, as far as I can tell, is what you believe? Right or wrong?

  11. phoodoo

    OMagain:
    phoodoo,
    Quotes with links. Let’s show the audience my lie in context. You can do it, or I will, as you prefer.

    And we’ll never be free of malaria because every time we have a breakthrough in treatment/prevention your designer will just up the ante and get us back to suffering. That, as far as I can tell, is what you believe? Right or wrong?

    But if I quote you, it will just show even clearer what a bald-faced lia….wait a second, I see what you are doing! You know I can’t mock your ridiculous and obvious, em, em, ..inaccuracies, because then Alan will accuse me of breaking the rules that he encouraged me to break.

    Oh, you are a clever one with your deceptio…Ah, you almost got me again, Dam you!

  12. OMagain Post author

    Mung,
    Once again, thank you for agreeing that your position is bullshit and explains nothing, it just has a label that you prefer. God did it is no more informative then it just happened. Which nobody offers as an explanation for anything anyway, it’s just a strawman you use to make yourself feel better about not having anything other then “god did it” as an explanation. So as you can explain nothing you convince yourself that the other side is just saying “it just happened” to make yourself feel better.

    Good luck with that.

  13. RoyLT

    Kantian Naturalist: (In Buddhism this is called “dependent origination“.) I think that something like this can be found in Kant as well but I’d have to think more about how one would do so.

    Found what I was looking for after a bit of hunting.

    Quoted from: https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/spr2016/entries/kant/#TraIde

    “…and that if we remove our own subject or even only the subjective constitution of the senses in general, then all constitution, all relations of objects in space and time, indeed space and time themselves would disappear, and as appearances they cannot exist in themselves, but only in us.”

    Sorry for the utter lack of formatting, but I’m still a WordPress neophyte. This piece from his “Transcendental Idealism” is what was in my mind when we were discussing “dependent origination”.

    BTW, picked up ‘Everything Must Go’ last week and I’m only a few pages in, but it is quite interesting so far. Thanks again for the ref.

  14. MungMung

    The general consensus now seems to be that evolution is in fact a theory of “it just happened, that’s all.”

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