The Reality of Intelligent Design!

I first noticed the phrase “Intelligent Design” about ten years ago. Not long after,William Dembski produced his website, Uncommon Descent, and declared his intentions:

This blog is for me mainly to get out news items about the ID movement and my work in particular. For more sustained writing and development of my ideas, I refer you to my website: www.designinference.com. I am not a journalist nor do I intend to become one. Thus this is not “The ID Answer Man” or “Ask Your Questions about ID Forum.” If I don’t respond to your comments and questions, even if they are good comments and questions, understand that I have way more commitments than I can fulfill, and that I will only occasionally contribute to a comment thread here.

Finally, there is one cardinal rule at this blog, namely, I make up the rules as I go along. In other words, these policies can change at any time. Moreover, if they change, it will most likely be in the direction of curtailing the time I need to spend with comments.

I made an early assessment of ID here. And I made the confident and wrong prediction that ID would fade completely from public view within five years. Dembski has since relinquished the site to one Barry Arrington, a lawyer by profession, and there continues to be the same consistency in moderation. “I make up the rules as I go along” could equally be Arrington’s mantra. Since Dembski’s withdrawal from public discussion, though (well indeed, since I first heard of “Intelligent Design”), I’ve seen no genuine effort to convert the claim that ID has some scientific merit into reality.

What I think I see now at Uncommon Descent, the only remaining discussion venue I am aware of where ID is still claimed to be real, is a gentle decline that may take a generation. What I don’t see at UD are many young or female advocates and no young, female advocates. What I no longer see is the pretense that ID is a useful scientific paradigm rather than a banner for the religious right (white male) to gather around.

Who’s left there with anything interesting to say? Who is left at UD who merits attention and consideration rather than being ignored? Anyone at all?

153 thoughts on “The Reality of Intelligent Design!

  1. William,
    You are not a theist. Don’t take my word for it. Go explain your thoughts on belief to your local priest or whatever. Then you’ll find out what a theist is.

    You might be wearing the outfit, but it’s only on the outside. I know this as you’ve said it yourself.

  2. William,

    You’ll say the most stupid shit just to disagree with whatever a theist says

    Out of interest, if you are a theist (or think you are) is your deity that you worship (do you worship it or just acknowledge it exists?) the same as the Intelligent Designer you also believe in? How do you know that? Or is that just something that you’ve chosen to believe for the utility (whatever that may be) rather than any underlying basis in reality?

  3. William J. Murray: But you’re wiling to talk them out of such beliefs unless you think they “need” them? Why?

    As an intellectual and academic, I’m happy to engage in discourse about the conceptual coherence of, and empirical evidence for, all manner of beliefs. Since I want my own beliefs to be true and consistent, and I want others to also have true and consistent beliefs, and since dialogue is essential for the cultivation of true and consistent beliefs, I find dialogue essential to the pursuit of intellectual virtue. I also find it quite enjoyable. But if, in the course of dialogue, it became clear to me that someone’s beliefs were central to his or her existential commitments, then I would relent. There is enough misery in the world already; there is no need to add to it.

  4. William J. Murray,

    I’m not so vain that I should regard myself as cosmically important. There was a long time — almost fourteen billion years — when our universe existed without my consciousness. I don’t find this fact lamentable, and I don’t think it’s so terribly tragic that the poor universe will have to do without me in the future.

    Personally, I regret that one day I’ll no longer be there to follow the development of the world’s affairs, but I’m also mature enough to know that some things can’t be helped even if you hate them. My favourite cat died. It made me very sad. Perhaps it would have comforted me to believe that she was taken to Cat Heaven by cat angels with dragonfly wings and emerald eyes, but I won’t buy a story like that only because it would make me feel better.

    It seems you are such an important person, with such a colossal ego, that nothing short of eternal continuity, guaranteed personally by the maker of the universe, can satisfy you, but this is not very different from the case of a little boy dreaming of an infinitely big heap of sweets, so that he can never eat them all. May I ask what you propose to do in eternity? Pluck the harp and sing psalms ad infinitum?

  5. KN said:

    That I prefer existence to non-existence is one thing; that I would prefer existence over non-existence indefinitely is quite another.

    But that wasn’t the challenge; the question is whether you would prefer an ongoing, indefinitely long enjoyable existence over non-existence. Of course, I (and probably quite a few others) would probably prefer non-existence over a indefinitely long miserable existence. Are you going to try to tell me that you’d prefer non-existence over an indefinite period of enjoyable experience, or that you have no preference?

    Maybe the problem here is that you are simply unable to accept me at my word when I say that I have no fear of death and no fear of the annihilation of my consciousness when that happens.

    You’re a smart guy and a philosopher; look at what you just did. Once again, with no reason, you’ve brought fear of death and fear of non-existence into the discussion. Can you not recognize from your insistence on that theme and the phrasing that you are building/maintaining a narrative where other, lesser mortals cannot comprehend your non-fear of death and your non-fear of experiential obliteration? You made it a part of Box’s post when his post had nothing to do with it; you’re returning to it now when I’ve not only not brought it up, but I’ve dismissed it as relevant to the conversation.

    I have no fear of my own death, and I certainly have no fear of consciousness obliteration – what idiot fears that which he will (supposedly) have absolutely no experience of whatsoever? The prospect is certainly lamentable, but frightening? No.

    If you’re not able to accept me as being sincere when I say that, then that says much more about you than it does about me.

    OMG! Has your narrative run amok? I never said I doubted that you do not fear non-existence. I never even implied it. Try re-reading my posts for comprehension. It’s you that keeps dragging fear of death or being “terrified” of non-existence into the conversation unprovoked.

    You’ve agreed that you find the loss of the capacity to experience new episodes of Breaking Bad lamentable, yet you wish to assert that you do not understand the psychology of those that would find the prospect of losing all enjoyable experience forever lamentable?

    You do understand that “lamentable” is not synonymous with “frightening”, right?

    Anyone that says that they would not prefer continued, enjoyable experience over non-existence is lying, crazy, deceiving themselves or are biological automatons parroting whatever nonsense their narrative algorithm dictates.

  6. William J. Murray: Anyone that says that they would not prefer continued, enjoyable experience over non-existence is lying, crazy, deceiving themselves or are biological automatons parroting whatever nonsense their narrative algorithm dictates.

    The high priest has spoken!

  7. biological automatons? Label them and burn them. They are sub-human and deserve not quarter.

  8. When Gregory starts attacking my motivations, character, and intentions, it’s a sure sign from the gods that I’m spending too much time on TSZ. Time to back off for a while.

  9. And to answer your question, William — if I could live (or, shall we say, “persist”) forever, I would not want to. My embrace of finitude gives meaning to my life and actions. I’m sorry that’s so difficult for you to accept; I’ve overcome my denial of death.

  10. KN said:

    And to answer your question, William — if I could live (or, shall we say, “persist”) forever, I would not want to. My embrace of finitude gives meaning to my life and actions. I’m sorry that’s so difficult for you to accept; I’ve overcome my denial of death.

    I realize it’s important to your narrative to portray your views as “difficult” for others to accept, or for your views to be uncommon/eclectic, but without any explanatory reason, and given what you said about trying to live another 30-40 years and lamenting the loss of new Breaking Bad expisodes, your position made no sense.

    Now, it makes more sense, since you’ve stayed on track and provided some context.

    You believe what you must in order to give your live meaning and value, which is basically the same reason (I would assume from your perspective) that anyone (generally) who believes in an afterlife or god or objective morality believes in what they do: it gives their life value and meaning.

    Portraying your belief that existence ends at death as your “acceptance” of a “fact” is, once again, nothing but posturing/narrative. Calling a belief a “fact”, and calling your adoption of that belief to give your life meaning and value “acceptance”, is just a matter of personally gratifying characterization, IMO.

    However, I would suggest that any perspective that requires eventual personal obliteration of consciousness to provide their lives with meaning and value is suffering from a serious lack of consideration of options. Or, perhaps, is simply an indication of essential nihilism.

  11. William J. Murray: it gives their life value and meaning.

    I don’t believe in those things, therefore my life is meaningless?

    I’d rather live a meaningless life then live a lie, as you are doing.

  12. Moved stuff to guano (including responses to rule-breaking comments to keep continuity).

    If I may just say some of the exchanges with WJM are getting a little personal. I know WJM’s tendency to imagine what people are thinking in the face of them telling him otherwise is annoying but it’s a foible we should all be used to by now.

  13. [Reposted by AF]Timaeus at Uncommon Descent

    Note from Author:

    I see that Alan Fox has posted some more comments over at TSZ, some of which refer to me or my article.

    Yes, Alan, I forgive you for calling me a grumpy old man. (Actually, the “old” hurts more than the “grumpy,” because time is marching on and it gets closer to the truth…) I’m sure that my comments on social/political matters, to some of our young left-wing sunshine boys here (from socialist paradises like New Zealand, etc.) do make me sound like a grumpy old conservative; on the other hand, you yourself, on social/political/religious matters, sometimes sound like a grumpy old ‘sixties leftist. So we’re even. 🙂 But I have to say that on the scientific and philosophical questions, I’ve generally found your manner of discourse polite and civilized, so I hope you don’t think I have any hard feelings.

    I am sorry to hear that you cannot post here. I know nothing about such administrative answers, and if there is a reason why you are being blocked, I don’t know what it is. All I can say to any administrators that are listening is that, though I have often strongly disagreed with your conclusions, I have not seen you violate any rule of polite discourse here, and I hope that some day you will be reinstated, if you have not committed some egregious sin against persons here of which I am unaware.

    Regarding a matter of substance–

    In defense of one of your points, you have written this clarification:

    [Original statement]
    “Since Dembski’s withdrawal from public discussion, though (well indeed, since I first heard of “Intelligent Design”), I’ve seen no genuine effort to convert the claim that ID has some scientific merit into reality.”

    [Reaffirmation]
    “And I stand by my statement that no work has been done by anyone that genuinely demonstrates the reality of “Intelligent Design” as a scientific method, approach or hypothesis.”

    I would point out, Alan, that you make a shift between your original statement and your reaffirmation. Your original statement was that there had been “no genuine effort” to show the scientific merit of ID; in your reaffirmation, you have rearranged the words so that the point is now that there is “no genuine demonstration” of the scientific merit of ID. Do you see the shift? It is one thing to say that ID has failed to demonstrate its merit as a scientific approach; it is another to say that ID proponents have not made a genuine effort to show that it has merit as a scientific approach. I say that they have made a genuine effort. That was the only point I wanted to contest here, under this column.

    (I also disagree with your revised statement, but that is not the statement I was contesting in my column. I was simply disputing your charge of lack of effort, the point being that effort and accomplishment are two different things.)

    If you will concede that, since the Dover Trial, when ID had only a handful of peer-reviewed publications, ID proponents have made a genuine effort to produce numerous publications in non-religious venues (and in many venues other than BioComplexity), publications containing quantitative and theoretical arguments in protein science, information science, etc. — then, even if you judge those efforts fruitless, we have agreement. This is a very small concession I am asking you to make: not even that ID is good science, but just that ID proponents are trying to produce good science. Regarding the quantity and quality of that science you may make whatever judgment you find warranted, but don’t deny the genuine effort that has been made in the past 10 years.

    (Also, when you consider that the Darwinian establishment is funded by the taxpayers of the world to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars (at least) annually (for the salaries of evolutionary biologists and other scientists, the expense of university and government research laboratories, etc.), whereas ID has had to get by on perhaps a few million dollars a year (if even that), and mostly from private donors whose steadiness cannot be counted on the way a university professor’s salary and lab and office space can be counted on, I would say the ID folks are making a noble effort. The average pharmaceutical company probably blows more money annually on ways to improve things like Aspirin and Tylenol than the entire amount of research money ID has at its disposal to study much vaster and more complex scientific matters. If Mayr, Dobzhansky, Gould etc. had had to work on the budgets ID folks have to work on, I think their research output would have been drastically lower than what it was. ID folks need to do more research, and publish more research — I would agree with that. But they are doing something with the meager resources they have.)

    [Will try and respond later this evening – AF]

  14. (Also, when you consider that the Darwinian establishment is funded by the taxpayers of the world to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars (at least) annually (for the salaries of evolutionary biologists and other scientists, the expense of university and government research laboratories, etc.), whereas ID has had to get by on perhaps a few million dollars a year (if even that), and mostly from private donors whose steadiness cannot be counted on the way a university professor’s salary and lab and office space can be counted on, I would say the ID folks are making a noble effort. The average pharmaceutical company probably blows more money annually on ways to improve things like Aspirin and Tylenol than the entire amount of research money ID has at its disposal to study much vaster and more complex scientific matters. If Mayr, Dobzhansky, Gould etc. had had to work on the budgets ID folks have to work on, I think their research output would have been drastically lower than what it was. ID folks need to do more research, and publish more research — I would agree with that. But they are doing something with the meager resources they have.)

    What was Darwin’s budget?

    They might get a good budget if they, you know, started to deal with Darwin’s “pathetic level of detail.” Until then, there really is literally no ID science to do, not even to falsify it (at a scientific level it’s been falsified, on their level it’s unfalsifiable), or at best it’d be a highly redundant endeavor.

    Tell us when to anticipate the poofs, Timaeus, and get ID “scientists” on it. If those are verified, we’ll have a great new avenue of gaining information.

    Glen Davidson

  15. Alan Fox: If I may just say some of the exchanges with WJM are getting a little personal. I know WJM’s tendency to imagine what people are thinking in the face of them telling him otherwise is annoying but it’s a foible we should all be used to by now.

    Duly noted. Thank you for putting us on notice.

  16. I have a question for Timeaus. How much did Axe and Gauger spend on their protein research? And Why did they spend it on a silly project that doesn’t test any evolutionary scenario?

    If they want to test something relevant to evolution, they could take a look at Thornton’s work. Similar research technology, but directly relevant to the question of whether new protein function can evolve.

    No actual biologist thinks things evolve always by climbing hills. For at least the last 60 years, it has been assumed that drift is the dominant mode of molecular evolution.

    See Lensky for an example of how drift enables evolution to bridge between islands of function.

    This is why we tend to say that ID has made no effort.

  17. petrushka: This is why we tend to say that ID has made no effort.

    It’d be nice if some of the more knowledgeable ID supporters would simply correct the more egregious misunderstandings of their fellow ID supporters. How are you suppose to get a good argument if nobody can decide on their side what they are arguing for?

  18. OMagain: It’d be nice if some of the more knowledgeable ID supporters would simply correct the more egregious misunderstandings of their fellow ID supporters. How are you suppose to get a good argument if nobody can decide on their side what they are arguing for?

    They (Barry / KF) still don’t understand CSI.

  19. It’s the missing piece. B follows A. C is inaccessible except through B.

    Science knows this. ID does not. It is going in all directions at once, hence averages no progress.

  20. Joe@UD

    Living organisms are evidence for ID- and that is because your position cannot explain them and they match the design criteria.

    They “match the design criteria”?

    ROFL!

    Do you suppose even Joe believes anything he says any more or is it just the sunk cost fallacy where he can now never be seen to retreat? If he does he realizes he’s wasted the better part of a decade repeating the same empty slogans, getting nowhere, contributing nothing and advancing nothing. While the rest of the world just gets on with it.

  21. Kantian Naturalist:
    When Gregory starts attacking my motivations, character, and intentions, it’s a sure sign from the gods that I’m spending too much time on TSZ.Time to back off for a while.

    Actually, I’m pretty sure it’s not that sign. It’s not your fault that Gregory is triggered (if indeed xe is triggered) by reading an accumulation of your posts on TSZ.

    Unless you mean spending too much time here in a statistical risk sense. Eg: “I’ve been spending too much time trampling through poison oak in the parks around here. No wonder it eventually managed to give me its rash. A sign that I should go home, wash off, and safely play video games.” …

    Could have happened sooner, could have gotten lucky and avoided it for longer, but can’t avoid it forever if one continues to expose oneself to the (likely) presence of the antagonist.

    Still not a sign that you should actually back off here. Because, unlike our collective vulnerability to poison oak, we do have a fairly effective defense against Gregory in full troll mode.

  22. Joe@UD

    The design criteria as put forth by Dr Behe:

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

    Living organisms haz it..

    (post was for the ignoramus’s at TSZ)

    Joe, now that we’ve clarified that everything that does anything is designed could you enlighten me as to why ID is not making new discoveries based on that?

    As you say, knowing something is designed will allow it to be understood much easier. Yet you’ve shown now that life meets the “design criteria” but I’ve not seen any design-centric discoveries coming from that?

    Would you care to speculate on why ID is scientifically sterile wrt life, given that the “design criteria” has been met wrt life?

  23. Joe@UD,

    Only an ignoramus on an agenda would jump to that “conclusion”. Enter omagainst reason

    It’s not a conclusion. It’s a fact. If it were not a fact you could simply point to a discovery that could only have been made under the assumption of design in biology.

    You have not. Ergo until you do the point stands.

  24. Allan Miller:
    What’s the function of a living organism?

    To buy books on ID? At least that’s all I’ve been able to determine from looking at UD.

  25. KF@UD,

    But then, often we deal with people unable to bring themselves to acknowledge that functionally specific, complex organisation and associated information is a recognisable empirical reality, not even in the face of obvious cases such as a fishing reel or a coded text string. KF

    No, actually nobody disputes that humans can determine design in many cases.

    What is at dispute is that you have evidence for such design in biology.

    A string of random text is often that, random.
    A string of understandable text is usually created by intelligence.

    See, no dispute. I don’t dispute a fishing reel is designed, nor a string of understandable text.

    The dispute is that your claim that FIASCO is only present in designed objects, and that FIASCO is present in biology therefore biology is designed.

    If you were able to put a specific figure on the FIASCO that evolution is able to generate and demonstrate the truth of that, then further demonstrate that living organisms contain higher levels of FIASCO then evolution can manage then you’d have proved your case.

    But the fact you can’t actually calculate FIASCO does not seem to preclude you from using it to note that fishing reels and biology are all designed. And you can’t actually calculate it for a given string, never mind for anything biological. But none of that seems to worry you, does it KF?

    After all, it’s not about minds, it’s about hearts. And of course, wallets. BUY MY BOOK!

  26. Joe@UD,

    Those many all understand that the concept of universal common descent is untestable and out of the realm of science, for now anyway.

    Oh? Perhaps you should write an email to Mr Behe and ask him why he believes it?

    And, Joe, If common descent is not true then I guess that means the designer has to intervene every time a branch forms.

    Could you design for me an experiment that could catch the designer “in the act” of differentiating two lineages?

  27. Joe@UD,

    The force of intelligent agencies acting to construct it [the solar system] from a plan.

    Given we have a model of how the solar system could form without intelligent design, and no model or evidence that it was formed by intelligent design, why don’t you accept the existing non-ID model until you obtain some evidence for yours?

    That, after all, would be the intellectually honest position.

    Oh, right, sorry….

    Also, given the number of edits to reality your designer must be making why is there no actual evidence of such edits?

  28. We can determine design, and we can determine relatedness.

    The two sorts of evidences are in fact quite distinct.

    In life, we see evidence of relatedness, whether it’s “microevolution” or “macroevolution.” We do not see evidence of design–portability of structure and function, rational “leaps,” etc.

    People like Behe won’t deny the evidence of relatedness, yet they still try to conflate design and evidence of relatedness, while ignoring the fact that the evidence of relatedness includes the limitations that do not affect design. It’s a complete misuse of the evidence, for the evidence of relatedness is the same as always–notably, absent any unambiguous marks of design.

    They are right that design isn’t difficult to detect in most cases. They are wrong to pretend that functional complexity per se marks design, especially in the context of evolutionary evidence. In fact, evolutionary change deals well with complexity, and poorly with simple logic, and what we see in life is a great deal of complexity and a great many missed logical possibilities.

    Unfortunately for them, relatedness isn’t difficult to detect, either. And since there is no excuse to conflate the massive evidence of relatedness throughout life with design, we can only rightly infer relatedness, and not design.

    Glen Davidson

  29. OMagain: What is at dispute is that you have evidence for such design in biology.

    The epistemological error in ID is (very) slightly more subtle than that.

    Scientific inquiry is quite open to introducing all sorts of posited entities to explain the behavior of observable entities. Only an unacceptably crude empiricism would insist that only the observables count. (Of course there have been vocal proponents of such empiricism in the history of philosophy!) But in scientific inquiry, what really counts is that the posited entity is *testable*.

    For example, one might think that abduction, deduction, and induction are all linked together: one posits an entity that, if it existed, would explain some surprising observation (abduction, or the inference to the best explanation); one then deduces additional, further observable consequences from the causal powers attributed to the posited entity; and then one collects the data and builds a model based on it. If the data-based model has causal powers similar to the posited entity, then and only then is the posit empirically confirmed.

    Two caveats:
    (1) I’m not a philosopher of science, or a scientist, obviously — that’s a very naive view of how science works, but it might be good enough for our purposes here.

    (2) I’m assuming that the posited entity is a concrete, datable particular; it doesn’t follow from this argument that we shouldn’t introduce abstract objects, such as numbers, for other purposes.

    The problem isn’t that positing design in biology is in itself off-limits; the problem is that there is no way (currently, that we know of) to test the posit. It’s the posits that survive rounds of testing that are considered well-confirmed. A mere posit is an idle fancy, epistemologically considered. But in insisting that it is mere positing alone, without any testing, that suffices to establish ID as a scientific theory, the ID movement seeks all the benefits of theft over honest toil.

  30. Joe@UD

    Mapou, It’s like people saying that since I question the veracity of the claim of a 4.5x billion year old earth, I am a YEC. To those clowns “YEC” = anyone who can properly assess the evidence- ie anyone who disagrees with them. 😉

    Anybody can question the veracity of any claim. That’s easy. But you won’t get anywhere until you come up with a more useful alternative!

    So keep questioning Joe. It’s achieving nothing but to keep you busy! And that is actually of great benefit to humanity!

  31. Joe@UD,

    3- It cannot be measured which is a huge issue in a venue built on measurements

    Could I suggest you mention this to KF at some point? Assuming that is he’s not ignoring you like almost everyone else at UD anyway…

  32. Joe@UD lets the cat out of the bag:

    Intelligent Design is open to all but purely materialistic processes and what emerges from them for explaining what we observe.

    Notice no mention of why that is the case, it just *is*.

    Not like we did not know that already Joe, but I think you’ll find that “following the evidence where it leads” is something that ID claimed to be big on. You seem to be doing “deciding what you want to be true then looking for evidence for that” instead.

    We all knew this in advance of this particular slip, of course. It’s amusing that you now say it some plainly. The facade has fallen.

  33. Their “explanatory filters” and other CSI detectors never work unless they know the solution in advance. They demonstrate that a sonnet by Shakespeare is intelligently designed (wow, who would have guessed!), but can’t cope with something that might or might not be a real (but hard to identify) language:

    Biniba boncianla den diani yali n den tieni tisiga ni. Bin den diani ke li ta yemma leni yabi n den la leni binuni hali micilima n den wani ti mama gi go twa tipo bimawanggikaba.

    link

  34. Piotr Gasiorowski:

    Biniba boncianla den diani yali n den tieni tisiga ni. Bin den diani ke li ta yemma leni yabi n den la leni binuni hali micilima n den wani ti mama gi go twa tipo bimawanggikaba.

    Well, I’m pretty sure it’s not Klingon…

  35. I’m not going to say what it is till one of the ID people dares at least to make an educated guess if it’s a real language or randomly generated gibberish, and offer some sort of justification either way.

  36. Belatedly responding to Timaeus:

    Alan Fox: I would point out, Alan, that you make a shift between your original statement and your reaffirmation. Your original statement was that there had been “no genuine effort” to show the scientific merit of ID; in your reaffirmation, you have rearranged the words so that the point is now that there is “no genuine demonstration” of the scientific merit of ID. Do you see the shift? It is one thing to say that ID has failed to demonstrate its merit as a scientific approach; it is another to say that ID proponents have not made a genuine effort to show that it has merit as a scientific approach. I say that they have made a genuine effort. That was the only point I wanted to contest here, under this column.

    The issue is not with how much effort people expend or whether that effort is genuine. I have a view on that but it is the result that is the point. Has there been any genuine effort to establish ID as an alternative theory to evolution, rather than claiming a “theory of the gaps”?

    Nobody in the ID camp has been prepared to formulate any kind of theory or hypothesis with anything approaching the rigor necessary to be able to perform any sort of controlled experiment or test. All effort has gone into making claims, with plenty of effort put into defending them, that evolutionary theories cannot explain aspects of the pattern of common descent with diversification and extinction that we see. The definition at Uncommon Descent says:

    The theory of intelligent design (ID) holds that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause rather than an undirected process such as natural selection. ID is thus a scientific disagreement with the core claim of evolutionary theory that the apparent design of living systems is an illusion.

    See that “best explained” there? There is no ID best explanation (unless I have missed something – a how, a when, a where, a what/who). That is not genuine.

    This is rushed as real life has to be fitted in. I’ll try and respond to other point as I get time.

  37. Piotr Gasiorowski,

    Biniba boncianla den diani yali n den tieni tisiga ni. Bin den diani ke li ta yemma leni yabi n den la leni binuni hali micilima n den wani ti mama gi go twa tipo bimawanggikaba.

    Huh. That’s easy for you to say.

  38. Biniba boncianla den diani yali n den tieni tisiga ni. Bin den diani ke li ta yemma leni yabi n den la leni binuni hali micilima n den wani ti mama gi go twa tipo bimawanggikaba.

    There has to be a French connection. I see:

    bon, ci, la, de, tien, lit, ni, ma, le, bi, un, mama.

  39. The fact of the matter is that, if organisms were sued for plagiarizing their DNA sequences from the same sources, they could mount no reasonable defense.

    Likewise, “it’s a miracle” never saves writers sued for plagiarism, nor students found to be oddly-inspired to write the same paragraphs on tests as their neighbors did.

    ID–expecting the cheesiest excuses to be accepted as legitimate since its inception.

    Glen Davidson

  40. Alan Fox,

    There are more French words there, especially if you ignore the official orthography and admit phonetic spellings: ke (= que or quai), twa (= toi or toit), ta, li (= lit ‘bed’, or lis, lit as finite forms of lire), gi (= gui ‘mistletoe’), leni (= le nid ‘the nest’).

  41. OK, nobody at UD will take up the challenge, so I can just as well divulge the solution. It’s Luke 1:1-2, from a 1958 translation of the Bible into the Gurma language (a.k.a. Gourmantché(ma)), spoken in what was then the Republic of Upper Volta (today’s Burkina Faso). The whole trick is to choose a language that is not much used on the Internet, and a text that can’t be googled up. This blocks the operation of the explanatory filter ;).

    Any similarity to French is superficial and accidental, though Burkina Faso used to be a French colony.

  42. Piotr Gasiorowski: Any similarity to French is superficial and accidental, though Burkina Faso used to be a French colony.

    Interesting. I have to ask what you think of MacNeil’s Story of English.

  43. petrushka,

    I was still a student when the book and the TV series appeared. My departmental library bought them, so I watched the videos with other students some time in the late 1980s, and we enjoyed them no end. There are precious few documentaries popularising historical linguistics, so to say that The Story of English is “one of the best” may sound like faint praise, but it was a really good job.

  44. Piotr Gasiorowski: so to say that The Story of English is “one of the best” may sound like faint praise, but it was a really good job.

    Thanks. I was, of course, fishing for a favorable comment, but prepared for something else.

    I saw it when it was broadcast in the US. then it disappeared. It was released on very expensive VHS tapes, but never on DVD. I get the impression it may have been politically incorrect in some way that I don’t understand. It was remade by different people.

    I recorded some of it off the air and laboriously converted it to DVD. I spent quite a bit of money on a semi-professional digitizer. Then my hard drive broke, and when I went back to my home-made DVDs, most were unreadable.

    I now have a set purchased on eBay. Probably illicit, but I’m keeping them, and copying them to more than one hard drive.

    I watch it about once a year, which adds up.

  45. I’ve just checked that my university library has the 1987 and 1992 editions of the book (and possibly the accompanying VHS videotapes, if they have survived; there were no DVDs in that ancient period). I haven’t seen the series for many years.

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