Koons, Aquinas, and Intelligent Design

Robert Koons and Logan Paul Gage have a defense of ID uploaded, titled St. Thomas Aquinas on Intelligent Design. The article is intended to address specifically theist criticism against ID and to show that ID is perfectly compatible with Thomistic metaphysics.

Up front, on the first page, the critics are identified by name. On the second page, the critical theses have been laid out. This is a very promising straightforward start. Unfortunately, the rest is downhill. While much of the criticism is accurately represented, some of it is not, and the defense with its misguided appeal to science misses crucial points of the criticism. And way too much of the defense simply reiterates ID slogans without actually defending them. And, to top it all, Aquinas is falsely interpreted to mean what he could not have meant. The last point is not too concerning though. Aquinas inevitably has that role in the circles that self-identify as Thomistic, which happens to include both ID critics and advocates.

Thomistic defense of ID by Koons and Gage

My interest was in finding an actual Thomistic or Scholastic defense of ID. Therefore I will ignore most of the mere reiteration of ID talking points in the article, such as appeals to science that cannot convince anyone but those already converted to the ID cause and that don’t really address what theist critics criticize about ID. Spoiler: That’s the bulk of the article.

However, I found what I was looking for: Aquinas’ doctrine of exemplar causation. It’s represented in the article as follows.

An exemplar cause is a type of formal cause—a sort of blueprint; the idea according to which something is organized. For Thomas, these ideas exist separately from the things they cause. For instance, if a boy is going to build a soap-box derby car, the idea in his mind is separate from the form of the car; yet the car’s form expresses the idea, or exemplar cause, in the boy’s mind. Herein lies the important point: for Thomas, a creature’s form comes from a similar form in the divine intellect. In other words, the cause of each species’ form is extrinsic. In fact, writes Thomas, “God is the first exemplar cause of all things” (p. 84-85 = p. 6-7 of the pdf)

The article says that the critics fail to mention this doctrine. That’s true. As far as I have followed the debate, exemplar causation has been mentioned only once by an ID critic in the debate, namely by Edward Feser (ID critic) when he says Vincent Torley’s (ID apologist) understanding of it is “worse than tenuous”. The rest of the mentions of exemplar causes I have seen in the debate are employed by the defenders of ID.

However, the problem with this defense is that it remains metaphysical and never touches on the physics and biology of design that ID is supposed to be about. Appeal to exemplar causes, while being relevant to Thomistic understanding of design, has no direct relevance to ID as an empirical theory whose mission is to measurably detect stuff. At least no advocate ever managed to clarify the connection to me and this article is no exception.

The real thrust of criticism

The thrust of theist criticism against ID is this: Teleology is beyond the empirical world. It cannot be measured or detected as a cause of this or that. Formal causes do not create or generate things and events, but rather “inform” things (with purpose, i.e. function, both intrinsic, special and contextual; it’s not a separately examinable part or appendage, like souls are often imagined to be separable ghosts). For example, a formal cause does not cause a dog to be, but rather determines what a dog is, what qualifies as a (natural or normal) dog and what doesn’t. The thrust of theist criticism against ID is meant to point out this category error between empirical and unempirical causation. The latter (namely, unempirical causation in Aristotelian metaphysics) would likely correspond to a “category” or “taxonomy” in scientific terminology. As long as ID fails to comply with the scientific terminology, it is doomed to remain a pseudoscience. And as long as ID trivializes Scholastic metaphysics, assuming empiricism where there is none, it is rightly criticized by Thomists and Scholastics.

This crucial criticism is sadly misrepresented in the article, sometimes subtly, sometimes grossly. For example, the article complains about the critics’ obsession with secondary causation (as distinguished from direct causation by God whereas, as rightly pointed out in the article, Thomas has no problem with direct causation) and aversion to God’s intervention and miracles. In reality, critics have no such obsessions and aversions. Instead, the criticism is that God’s direct intervention and miracles remain empirically undetectable after the fact. God’s intervention is indistinguishable from natural causes, because God is the author of natural causation. Intervention or miracles would be no different from natural causes, because God’s action is a single timeless act (a.k.a. pure actuality): When God acts, the outcome is most natural, nature itself.

Take a particular miracle such as raising Lazarus from the dead. After the raising, would modern physicians be able determine after examination, “Yup, God did it.” or “This is caused by design, not by natural causes”? No. There would be no empirical signs of miraculous intervention after the fact. And, incidentally, this is not how the Catholic Church goes about determining miracles. Yet this is how ID apparently proposes to proceed.

After all this, the article turns and says “ID is a very minimal claim which does not require intervention.” (p. 85 = p. 7 in the pdf) Then why all that accusation of critics with their obsessions and aversions concerning the matter?

Where did ID go this wrong?

There are other fundamental problems with ID theory that become evident in the article, mainly conceptual. For example, it’s never clear what is meant by “design”. Is it a cause or an effect? At one point, Behe is quoted definitionally, “Design is simply the purposeful arrangement of parts” and Dembski is claimed to have pointed out that Paley “made no appeal to miracles in the production of design.” (p. 85-86) So, if design is a production and an arrangement, it seems to be more like an effect. Yet there’s the rampant “caused by design” assertion in the ID community as we know it (from UD, originally Dembski’s forum). The article does not mention it. Dembski uses (at UD: Resources/ID defined) the term “intelligent cause” which is supposed to “best explain” “certain features of the universe and of living things” (the same as “design”?) while the relation between design and intelligence is never explained. That’s a problem created by, or at least amplified by, Dembski, I’d say.

Another is the term “irreducible complexity”. The article defends the term citing Aquinas.

Contrary to the claims of Feser (2010, 154–155), the presence of complexity is relevant to Aquinas’s argument for design:… It is impossible for things contrary and discordant to fall into one harmo-
nious order
always or for the most part, except under some one guidance… (p. 86, underline in the original)

Now, does everybody agree with the implication that “one harmonious order” means something even remotely akin to “complexity”? Didn’t think so. The article is full of such misapplied quotes from Aquinas. They can be hunted for fun when reading. “Complexity” is like a square peg to a round hole when it comes to Scholastic metaphysics with its doctrine of divine simplicity. This is a problem invented by Behe.

Conclusion

The conclusion of the article says that “The Thomistic critics of ID understand neither ID nor the heart of Darwinian evolution… ID is not a competing metaphysical system for the simple reason that it is not a metaphysical system.” (p. 91-92 = p. 13-14 in the pdf) I’d say that if ID can be defended by means of Thomist metaphysics, then it must be a metaphysical system, except that it demonstrably cannot be defended by means of Thomist metaphysics, so it’s evidently something else. My conclusion is that ID is indefensible due to conceptual inconsistencies stemming from the fact that its advocates and apologists never figured out whether it’s a metaphysics or a science. Unfortunately, pace KN, metaphysics and science are two distinct worlds and need to be sorted out before engaging in either one.

271 thoughts on “Koons, Aquinas, and Intelligent Design

  1. Erik: So you don’t remember original question. Or you simply don’t care.

    Let’s pose the question again using your preferred word: If in nature trial and error just sort of happen until something viable comes out, then don’t you see how this renders “trial” and “viable” entirely vacuous?

    I totally agree that there is something missing. The answer to “why”. But not scientifically vacuous.

    You can keep answering by trial and error. See how far you’ll get.

    Given enough trials, and a large enough, population, it’s pretty awesome how far things can get.

  2. Erik: Let’s pose the question again using your preferred word: If in nature trial and error just sort of happen until something viable comes out, then don’t you see how this renders “trial” and “viable” entirely vacuous?

    The expression “trial and error” is perhaps unfortunate. But it is a common phrase.

    It is typically used where the evaluation is pragmatic rather than based on truth. So, strictly speaking, “error” is the wrong word. But then we should not expect language to be logical.

    I don’t see a problem with trial and error if we are using it in that pragmatic sense, and not intending that truth is involved.

  3. colewd: I have made an argument that cellular self replication is a multi level function that requires precision not achievable by a trial and error process. Can you demonstrate this statement is false?

    Ever tried backing up your claims and fantasies yourself?

    Your incredulity does not become the responsibility of others.

    Glen Davidson

  4. Neil Rickert: The expression “trial and error” is perhaps unfortunate.But it is a common phrase.

    It is typically used where the evaluation is pragmatic rather than based on truth.So, strictly speaking, “error” is the wrong word.But then we should not expect language to be logical.

    I don’t see a problem with trial and error if we are using it in that pragmatic sense, and not intending that truth is involved.

    Perhaps a better phrase would be “trial, reinforcement, and error”. Evolution doesn’t just try things to see if they can be used, it also reinforces those things that can be used. It also allows errors to come up and a lot of time those errors lead to dead ends. But simply saying it’s a “trial and error” process is a mischaracterization I think.

  5. Neil Rickert: The expression “trial and error” is perhaps unfortunate.But it is a common phrase.

    It is typically used where the evaluation is pragmatic rather than based on truth.So, strictly speaking, “error” is the wrong word.But then we should not expect language to be logical.

    I don’t see a problem with trial and error if we are using it in that pragmatic sense, and not intending that truth is involved.

    Pragmatic is what we are right now.

    Let’s reduce it to “trial”. The questions remain: Who is trying? What is being tried? Or is mere “trial” also unfortunate? What would be the fortunate word?

  6. Trial and selection, anyone?

    Or to make Moran happy, trial and survival; trial and drift.

  7. Erik: Let’s reduce it to “trial”. The questions remain: Who is trying? What is being tried? Or is mere “trial” also unfortunate?

    I haven’t been closely following the particulars. But I suppose it is being used as a metaphor.

  8. Erik: Let’s reduce it to “trial”. The questions remain: Who is trying?

    The organism every time it reproduces,

  9. Neil Rickert: I haven’t been closely following the particulars.But I suppose it is being used as a metaphor.

    In other words, it’s vacuous.

  10. newton: The organism every time it reproduces,

    My view is that biology “tries” different configurations. “Trying” is always relative and comparative; some organisms are simply more successful (get more resources, live longer, endure less stress, produce more offspring) on average than others in similar or the same niche and this is based on the biological configuration of the organisms.So “trying” then is a description of what biology does with mutations and reproduction. If a mutation “works”, evolution conserves it. If it doesn’t work, biology tries something else.

  11. Robin,

    If a mutation “works”, evolution conserves it. If it doesn’t work, biology tries something else.

    What does a mutation working mean. What are the odds a mutation can improve fitness or create a new feature. The experimental evidence does not support this claim for multicellular organisms.

  12. Robin: So “trying” then is a description of what biology does with mutations and reproduction. If a mutation “works”, evolution conserves it. If it doesn’t work, biology tries something else.

    Something like that

  13. colewd: What does a mutation working mean. What are the odds a mutation can improve fitness or create a new feature. The experimental evidence does not support this claim for multicellular organisms.

    But it does for single cell organisms?

  14. colewd:
    Robin,

    What does a mutation working mean.

    A mutation “works” if it doesn’t break or critically endanger the organism. If it can be exploited for some kind of of relative success, then it “really works”.

    What are the odds a mutation can improve fitness or create a new feature.

    Depends on the organism and environment. Some organisms mutate quite rapidly – RNA viruses like polio, influenza, foot and mouth disease and their environments – like humans – make such rapid changing really beneficial. Other organisms have much slower mutation rates, but tend to conserve mutations when they get them – such a lemon sharks. Still other organisms – like humans – tend to get mutations all over the place, but tend not to conserve a lot of them.

    The experimental evidence does not support this claim for multicellular organisms.

    I have no idea why you think this. What evidence have you looked at?

  15. Robin,

    I have no idea why you think this. What evidence have you looked at?

    I’m betting fruit flies.

  16. colewd:

    And? So what? You haven’t demonstrated the need for a designer, merely your personal incredulity that something that complicated could arise from natural evolutionary mechanisms.

    You are repeating an assertion but you are failing to demonstrate that the argument matches your claim. Trying to discount an argument by categorizing it is a very week defense.

    I have made an argument that cellular self replication is a multi level function that requires precision not achievable by a trial and error process.

    That’s not an argument, it’s an unsupported assertion. You haven’t demonstrated that it isn’t possible, you haven’t provided any evidence for the existence of a god designer, you haven’t provided any evidence for how the design was implemented. All you’ve done is point out that something is too complicated for you to believe that it evolved by natural means. It’s a classic argument from personal incredulity.

  17. Patrick,

    That’s not an argument, it’s an unsupported assertion.

    Do you believe that Aquinas’s 5 ways is an assertion or an argument?

  18. Patrick,

    That’s not an argument, it’s an unsupported assertion. You haven’t demonstrated that it isn’t possible, you haven’t provided any evidence for the existence of a god designer, you haven’t provided any evidence for how the design was implemented. All you’ve done is point out that something is too complicated for you to believe that it evolved by natural means. It’s a classic argument from personal incredulity.

    Is the above an assertion or an argument. If you think it is an argument how would you support that claim?

  19. colewd:

    Do you believe that Aquinas’s 5 ways is an assertion or an argument?

    Irrelevant to the fact that you are making baseless assertions, not arguments.

  20. colewd:

    That’s not an argument, it’s an unsupported assertion. You haven’t demonstrated that it isn’t possible, you haven’t provided any evidence for the existence of a god designer, you haven’t provided any evidence for how the design was implemented. All you’ve done is point out that something is too complicated for you to believe that it evolved by natural means. It’s a classic argument from personal incredulity.

    Is the above an assertion or an argument.If you think it is an argument how would you support that claim?

    It is a set of observations that demonstrate that you have not presented any argument except for one from personal incredulity.

    If you think you have an actual argument, let’s see it.

  21. Patrick: It is a set of observations that demonstrate that you have not presented any argument except for one from personal incredulity.

    Haha. “Demonstrate.”

  22. Patrick,

    It is a set of observations that demonstrate that you have not presented any argument except for one from personal incredulity.

    What observations? I think your claim against my argument is itself an argument from personal incredulity. Not backed up by logic or evidence. So I remain waiting for a real counter argument to my argument.

    As I mentioned I would also like a critique of Aquinas’s 5 way argument.

    BTW when you ask for a designer you are creating a straw-man to argue against. The argument for design does not require a designer being identified.

  23. colewd:
    What observations? I think your claim against my argument is itself an argument from personal incredulity.

    Then you don’t know what those words mean.

    Present some actual evidence rather than “Oooh! Complex!” and we can discuss it.

    BTW when you ask for a designer you are creating a straw-man to argue against. The argument for design does not require a designer being identified.

    How terribly convenient for you. And terribly wrong. Without an understanding of the capabilities and limitations of the alleged god designer there is no way to detect design. An omnipotent designer, as a completely ridiculous example, could do literally anything.

  24. Patrick,

    Present some actual evidence rather than “Oooh! Complex!” and we can discuss it.

    This is not my argument. You are creating a straw-man and then labeling that straw-man personal incredulity. You are failing to break down my argument or showing that you really understand it.

  25. colewd:
    Patrick,

    This is not my argument.You are creating a straw-man and then labeling that straw-man personal incredulity.You are failing to break down my argument or showing that you really understand it.

    Well there is the false dilemma that you never fail to use, at least implicitly, no matter that it’s a fallacy.

    Glen Davidson

  26. Patrick,

    How terribly convenient for you. And terribly wrong. Without an understanding of the capabilities and limitations of the alleged god designer there is no way to detect design. An omnipotent designer, as a completely ridiculous example, could do literally anything.

    This is your assertion and an attempt to create a straw-man. You need a better understanding of inductive reasoning or cause and effect.

    I do appreciate you going through this.

    It is clear to me at this point you do not have a good counter to the design argument. Again, I would be very interested to see if you can counter the Aquinas/Aristotle argument of cause and effect or the 5 ways. This would help you understand the design argument and possibly counter it.

  27. colewd: if you can counter the Aquinas/Aristotle argument of cause and effect or the 5 ways. This would help you understand the design argument and possibly counter it.

    Noez! Noez! Aquinas 5 ways argues for God’s existence, but ID is not about the identity of the designer!

    straw man!!!11!1one

  28. colewd,

    BTW, you haven’t been listening to KN or Erik. Classical theists like Aquinas posit a God that is incompatible with ID. Aquinas’ God is transcendent and can’t be detected or approached scientifically

  29. dazz,

    BTW, you haven’t been listening to KN or Erik. Classical theists like Aquinas posit a God that is incompatible with ID. Aquinas’ God is transcendent and can’t be detected or approached scientifically

    I listen to both but I am not sure they are right. Science is about cause and effect. This is the basis of Aristotle’s reasoning which is the core of Aquinas’s logic. I agree that the ID argument does not completely match Aquinas 5th way but as the paper says it is not completely incompatible either. I think the basic evidence that ID argues helps support his second and fifth arguments as being valid.

  30. colewd:
    dazz,

    I listen to both but I am not sure they are right.Science is about cause and effect.This is the basis of Aristotle’s reasoning which is the core of Aquinas’s logic.I agree that the ID argument does not completely match Aquinas 5th way but as the paper says it is not completely incompatible either.I think the basic evidence that ID argues helps support his second and fifth arguments as being valid.

    ID is about detecting design in life. Aquinas’ 5 ways don’t have anything to do with that.

    Read Feser for more on why ID is incompatible with classical theism

    http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com.es/2014/05/miracles-id-and-classical-theism.html

  31. dazz,

    Read Feser for more on why ID is incompatible with classical theism

    I am almost finished with Feser’s book on Aquinas. When I think of ID, my reference is Behe’s arguments. The purposeful arrangement of parts for a function. So is this statement incompatible with Aquinas? If not, where does it fit? If it does not fit, can it be changed to become a useful fit?

  32. colewd: When I think of ID, my reference is Behe’s arguments. The purposeful arrangement of parts for a function

    Affirming that “purposeful arrangement of parts” points to ID is a baseless, unscientific assertion. You should know that by now.

    colewd: So is this statement incompatible with Aquinas?

    Why would you ask me? You said you’ve read Feser. Didn’t that answer your question?

  33. dazz,

    Affirming that “purposeful arrangement of parts” points to ID is a baseless, unscientific assertion. You should know that by now.

    Saying this is a baseless assertion is an assertion. Can you make an argument that this is an assertion versus a definition or argument? I think it will be very difficult to back up your claim that Behe’s argument is not based on evidence and logic.

    Why would you ask me? You said you’ve read Feser. Didn’t that answer your question?

    It is not clear that design could not be a subset of Aquinas fifth way i.e. support for his argument.

  34. colewd:
    dazz,

    Saying this is a baseless assertion is an assertion.Can you make an argument that this is an assertion versus a definition or argument?I think it will be very difficult to back up your claim that Behe’s argument is not based on evidence and logic.

    It is not clear that design could not be a subset of Aquinas fifth way i.e. support for his argument.

    Hey, read Erik’s OP, read KN’s comments. My knowledge about all this stuff is only superficial, but at least I think I understand the basics. You’re incapable of learning even when spoon-fed. Over and out

  35. colewd: dazz,

    Affirming that “purposeful arrangement of parts” points to ID is a baseless, unscientific assertion. You should know that by now.

    Saying this is a baseless assertion is an assertion. Can you make an argument that this is an assertion versus a definition or argument? I think it will be very difficult to back up your claim that Behe’s argument is not based on evidence and logic.

    At best, it’s a rather poor “definition.” The trouble clearly is that “purposeful” is hardly a definitive aspect, and IDists typically just assume purpose because something is “complex and functional.” Purpose is well worth considering if one is trying to figure out if intelligence is made, but it’s not “purposeful arrangement of parts” per se that matters, rather it’s the purpose of the whole. It’s more that one understands an arrangement of parts to be purposeful if the whole is apparently purposeful than the other way around, while IDists pretend that purpose of the organism can be inferred from the baseless assumption that parts are purposefully arranged (looks like it to them, plus the bogus math).

    Rationality is almost certainly the best indication of intelligence being “in the parts,” and it’s not something that IDists acknowledge, because rationality is not the mindless adoption of inherited characteristics as the basis upon which to build new or better-functioning parts. Find rationality rather than stupid reliance on heredity, and you at least have a candidate for intelligence being behind the functional complexity of life. What we find is the stupid reliance on heredity, that which evolutionary processes are limited to using and adapting.

    Glen Davidson

  36. The core argument of ID is an argument from analogy. It was an argument from analogy when the Stoics articulated it, it was an argument from analogy when Hume eviscerated it, it was an argument from analogy when Paley improved upon it, and it continues to be an argument from analogy to this very day. Nothing has changed.

    Those who are moved by analogies will continue to find it plausible, and those who recognize the weakness of reasoning by analogy will continue to find it implausible.

  37. Kantian Naturalist,

    Those who are moved by analogies will continue to find it plausible, and those who recognize the weakness of reasoning by analogy will continue to find it implausible.

    Thanks for the argument. 🙂

    I think you are right that ID is an argument from analogy. It is also an argument as the best alternative. Analogy is an important tool in scientific reasoning. Without it I am not sure we would have General Relativity because the tensor used to represent energy was derived for other applications i.e. electromagnetics.

    per Stanford philosophy dictionary

    Analogy and Analogical Reasoning
    First published Tue Jun 25, 2013
    An analogy is a comparison between two objects, or systems of objects, that highlights respects in which they are thought to be similar. Analogical reasoning is any type of thinking that relies upon an analogy. An analogical argument is an explicit representation of a form of analogical reasoning that cites accepted similarities between two systems to support the conclusion that some further similarity exists. In general (but not always), such arguments belong in the category of inductive reasoning, since their conclusions do not follow with certainty but are only supported with varying degrees of strength. Here, ‘inductive reasoning’ is used in a broad sense that includes all inferential processes that “expand knowledge in the face of uncertainty” (Holland et al. 1986: 1), including abductive inference.

    Analogical reasoning is fundamental to human thought and, arguably, to some nonhuman animals as well. Historically, analogical reasoning has played an important, but sometimes mysterious, role in a wide range of problem-solving contexts. The explicit use of analogical arguments, since antiquity, has been a distinctive feature of scientific, philosophical and legal reasoning. This article focuses primarily on the nature, evaluation and justification of analogical arguments. Related topics include metaphor, models in science, and precedent and analogy in legal reasoning.

  38. colewd,

    Analogical reasoning is important in the construction of novel concepts, including concepts in scientific theories. But ID never gets past that stage. The reason why general relativity is accepted by the scientific community is because it entailments that have been empirically confirmed. That is not the case for ID. ID gets itself to the abductive leap — and stops there. Everything else is salesmanship.

  39. colewd: I think you are right that ID is an argument from analogy

    Problem is ID is JUST an argument from analogy (and a failed one at that). That’s not even remotely close to anything worth called science, no matter how much you kick and moan. Science is about explaining stuff. ID refuses to commit to any sort of explanatory narrative for obvious reasons: it’s a religious, anti science movement promoted by hypocrites and aimed at idiots

  40. colewd:

    Present some actual evidence rather than “Oooh! Complex!” and we can discuss it.

    This is not my argument.You are creating a straw-man and then labeling that straw-man personal incredulity.You are failing to break down my argument or showing that you really understand it.

    I have not seen you make an actual argument. All I have seen you do is talk about how complex some biological systems are and immediately leap to goddidit.

    If you think you have an argument other than personal incredulity, please lay it out clearly.

  41. colewd:

    How terribly convenient for you. And terribly wrong. Without an understanding of the capabilities and limitations of the alleged god designer there is no way to detect design. An omnipotent designer, as a completely ridiculous example, could do literally anything.

    This is your assertion and an attempt to create a straw-man.

    No, it’s a clear statement of fact. An omnipotent designer has no limits by definition. There is no evidence that could either support or disprove the involvement of such a thing. Archaeologists can detect human artifacts because we know human capabilities and limitations. Biologists can detect evolved artifacts because known evolutionary mechanisms have limitations. The same does not apply to gods.

    It is clear to me at this point you do not have a good counter to the design argument.

    It’s clear to me that you do not have a design argument. Care to present one?

  42. Kantian Naturalist,

    Analogical reasoning is important in the construction of novel concepts, including concepts in scientific theories. But ID never gets past that stage. The reason why general relativity is accepted by the scientific community is because it entailments that have been empirically confirmed. That is not the case for ID. ID gets itself to the abductive leap — and stops there. Everything else is salesmanship.

    I think this is exactly right. The weakness is that you cannot test or model the claim quantitatively. It is abductive reasoning. The issue is its competitive theory is also abductive reasoning. Per the same Stanford Philosophy website:

    Why may I not invent the hypothesis of Natural Selection (which from the analogy of domestic productions, and from what we know of the struggle of existence and of the variability of organic beings, is, in some very slight degree, in itself probable) and try whether this hypothesis of Natural Selection does not explain (as I think it does) a large number of facts…. (Letter to Henslow, May 1860 in Darwin 1903)

    Here it appears, by Darwin’s own admission, that his analogy is employed to show that the hypothesis is probable to some “slight degree” and thus merits further investigation.

    So the verb to design is very limited in science. As is the verb to select.

    The noun design looks like it may be promising support to Aquinas 5th way as evidence that demonstrate the mechanisms of final cause in life that were originally hypothesized by Aristotle.

  43. Patrick,

    It’s clear to me that you do not have a design argument. Care to present one?

    Behe has an argument. It follows observation and logic. You do not have a counter argument. You are simply repeating the assertion that Behe does not have an argument. KN’s counter argument was a legitimate argument.

  44. colewd,

    Patrick: It’s clear to me that you do not have a design argument. Care to present one?

    colewd: Behe has an argument. It follows observation and logic. You do not have a counter argument.

    Haha! Here’s an argument – well, actually it’s over there. Go and look at it. You cannot refute the bits I’m talking about, though I can’t be bothered to say what they are. I have a garden to sort out. Let me know when you’ve refuted … that argument … that one over there. Argumentum ad laziarsum.

  45. Allan Miller:
    colewd,

    Haha! Here’s an argument – well, actually it’s over there. Go and look at it. You cannot refute the bits I’m talking about, though I can’t be bothered to say what they are. I have a garden to sort out. Let me know when you’ve refuted … that argument … that one over there. Argumentum ad laziarsum.

    It’s over there where the little poofs are.

    Think of all that Behe’s done with that argument! Like re-state it, and it can’t be refuted.

    Glen Davidson

  46. You have to refute it each time he restates it. Whoever gives up first loses.

  47. Allan Miller,

    Haha! Here’s an argument – well, actually it’s over there.

    Can you create an argument that supports this statement from Richard Dawkins?

    Biology is the study of complicated things that have the appearance of having been designed with a purpose.

    Instead of the statement:

    Biology is the study of complicated things that have been designed with a purpose.

  48. colewd:
    Allan Miller,

    Can you create an argument that supports this statement from Richard Dawkins?

    Instead of the statement:

    Since it’s pretty much bollocks, of course not.

    He could have said that life looks designed to him and been correct (apparently), but even that would be because he conflates function and design. Funny that IDists think he’s so wrong about everything but this (and forget the tripe about “admission against his interest,” as it’s really a fundamental mistake that he made early on to conflate the two, one that he’s never corrected).

    To distinguish between life and design is simply not difficult at all, something that even Paley’s watch parable inadvertently demonstrates.

    Glen Davidson

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