the son of liddle gods

Let’s try this again.

In a recent post here at TSZ Elizabeth Liddle made the following statement:

What undermines the “case for design” chiefly, is that there isn’t a case for a designer.

HERE

Odd, I thought. Surely she knows better. All that time spent over at UD and never a case for a designer? Is this claim believable? I thought not.

This was later followed by yet another comment from Elizabeth:

I haven’t really taken to the “atheist” label, much although I don’t reject it – but it [the atheist label] implies that my non-belief in god or gods is something categorically different from my non-belief in unicorns or toothfairies, or in the proverbial orbiting teapot.

HERE

But it is categorically different. No one believes orbiting teapots design anything and an orbiting teapot would be an instance of design not an instance of a designer.

Given the trajectory of the original at thread I think it’s reasonable to believe that Elizabeth’s claim that there is no case for a designer should be understood as a claim that there is no case for the existence of God. I won’t even call this a transition, because I can’t detect a transition from “designer” to “god” that consists of any distinction.

Elizabeth Liddle:

Can you give me some arguments for the existence for a god of some sort?

HERE

Elizabeth Liddle:

…compared to the time when I acted as though it were true that an omipotent, omniscient and omnibenevolent God existed, I am no longer faced with the problem as to why bad things happen, nor how a person could possibly think, feel or act or experience after their brain had ceased to function. So I now have a more parsimonious model, which means that not only do I not have to fill my head with unnecessary non-useful beliefs, I no longer have to solve the problems that those earlier assumptions presented.

HERE

It’s not that there’s no case for a designer [God], but that now Elizabeth doesn’t have to think about what the existence of a designer [God] entails. It’s not that she did not have a model based upon her beliefs, but that now her model is “more parsimonious.”

And now for the kicker…

Elizabeth Liddle:

I know there are such arguments. I find none of them persuasive.

HERE

Directly contradicting her earlier statement.

Why would a case for the existence of God not qualify as a case for a designer?

What is the difference between these two claims: 1) there is no case for a designer, and 2) there is no case for the existence of God?

When Elizabeth asserted there was no case for a designer, did she simply mean to assert that she found no case for the existence of a designer that compelled belief?

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190 thoughts on “the son of liddle gods

  1. Gregory:
    And not ‘joking’ about barbequing babies like evil assholes, while being called ‘nice’ and ‘respectful’ by nominated moderators?

    Consider the possibility you provoke reactions from other commenters. Your button-pushing may be involuntary but it is still effective.

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  2. Alan Fox:
    Gregory,

    Let’s link to the comment. Doesn’t look so terrible in context.

    Yep, thanks.

    Also consider that the larger context outside TSZ includes my nation where an openly-atheist person cannot get elected, where theists are more prejudiced against atheists than they are against rapists and murderers, where (the most bigoted) theists have transferred the blood libel of Jews stealing christian babies to a new target instead: the atheists … yeah, I’ll say I’m entitled to make a joke about it. Just tryin’ ta have some fun with their hatred …

    I did expect Gregory to get the context. Clearly I was wrong about Gregory’s knowledge of the larger world beyond his own European academic sanctuary. But I wasn’t wrong about my joke, and I’m in great company: The Friendly Atheist (cute, safe for work)

    As far as “evil atheist”: again, I didn’t expect Gregory to take it literally that I think myself to be “evil”. And again, I overestimated Gregory’s practical knowledge of our real world. In a world where I am called evil every day, I can certainly adopt that term as a humorous nickname for myself if I want to reduce the sting of their insults.

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  3. Gregory: Are you really that deranged, Alan Fox? No moral sense at all?

    Oh, I can see this is going to end well.

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  4. Now back to the OP:

    The point I’ve made in this thread, since the first comment, is simple and clear: Acknowledge the difference between human designers and supposed divine (non-natural, extra-natural or super-natural) designers simply by capitalising ‘Intelligent Design’ and properly not capitalising ‘intelligent design’ or any usage of ‘design theory’ that rejects IDism. This is a simple and appropriate solution to the double-talk problem that is rampant in the IDM. Many of you have already acknowledged this problem, for which I give thanks. But no one at TSZ has yet offered a solution.

    No human designer could have ‘designed/manufactured/created’ the universe, biological life, human existence, etc. So the distinction itself has merit. This stands despite what if any ‘resistance’ outdated stubbornness is displayed by empty-philosophy people like Elizabeth to this important clarification.

    As IDism requires, we should capitalise ‘Designer’. This shows IDT is not a ‘strictly scientific’ theory. And of course such a signifier (if one acknowledges omniscience, etc.), granted if real, could have created and still be creating (in) the universe. If Elizabeth is too lazy or ‘too old’ (as she calls herself) to intentionally click ‘Shift’ when she types ‘Designer’, then please excuse her for being irrelevant!

    That Elizabeth is an ex-catholic atheist, quasi-Buddhist, (& now caught lying or just ignorant) wanna-be Quaker, confused person when it comes to her own theology/worldview is not relevant. She cannot feel a Creator, nor a Designer in her life. Thus, she gives effort not to capitalize, despite the clear communicative rationale to do so. We understand that. She is simply telling her own disenchanted subjective ‘old person’ fuzzy atheist ideology, to gain our sympathy for her lazy fingers. She is a skeptic, not just in name, but also in temperament and soul.

    Nevertheless, several people at TSZ have already adopted the terminology started by the highly regarded scholar Gingerich & others. I find it convincing also. If one really wants to challenge the IDM and IDists, this is one of the strongest tactics (if not the strongest!) one can take. It breaks the deceptive insistence that IDT is a ‘simply scientific’ (not simply ’empirical’) theory right at the roots. IDists cannot compete with anti-IDists on this topic because it undercuts IDist ideology & destroys their will.

    We all know IDism is not ‘strictly scientific’. This is only a façade that IDists parade in their local right wing protestant evangelical churches. The concrete distinction between ‘Intelligent Design’ and ‘intelligent design’, between ‘Design’ and ‘design’ makes this perfectly clear. But no one has yet demanded a clear and specific response to this distinction, holding the IDM’s feet to the fire, thus allowing IDists to slip & slide away from answering.

    And that’s why the author of this thread, an IDist and still unexplained ‘creationist’ Mung, won’t ever face this challenge directly. He has no answers against fellow theists who refuse IDism, especially Catholics. And he won’t buckle-up and bite the communicative bullet. He is still just an ideologically confused coward.

    Nothing a single atheist has said in this thread compares in significance to the challenge of uppercase ‘Intelligent Design’ vs. lowercase ‘intelligent design’. And this proposal is directly on-topic for this thread. All the skeptic-atheists at TSZ have said so far is that you don’t believe in YHWH.

    Yeah, well, we already know that. So what? If you want to break the IDM’s back, this is the best way to do it.

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  5. Gregory: Actually, I interpret that you do consider yourself ‘evil.’

    Yeah, I’m sure you do, in spite of the fact that I just stated that I don’t. But what do I know about my own opinion, eh?

    Great job coming up with the correct interpretation, Gregory!

    Umm, that praising you is a joke, in case you can’t tell.

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  6. Gregory: That Elizabeth is an ex-catholic atheist, quasi-Buddhist, (& now caught lying or just ignorant) wanna-be Quaker, confused person when it comes to her own theology/worldview is not relevant. She cannot feel a Creator, nor a Designer in her life. Thus, she gives effort not to capitalize, despite the clear communicative rationale to do so. We understand that. She is simply telling her own disenchanted subjective ‘old person’ fuzzy atheist ideology, to gain our sympathy for her lazy fingers. She is a skeptic, not just in name, but also in temperament and soul.

    Bullshit.

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  7. Gregory: Acknowledge the difference between human designers and supposed divine (non-natural, extra-natural or super-natural) designers simply by capitalising ‘Intelligent Design’ and properly not capitalising ‘intelligent design’ or any usage of ‘design theory’ that rejects IDism. This is a simple and appropriate solution to the double-talk problem that is rampant in the IDM. Many of you have already acknowledged this problem, for which I give thanks. But no one at TSZ has yet offered a solution.

    It doesn’t fool anyone who gives the ploy a minute’s consideration. ID is a dying movement. The whole point of the “Designer” routine was to circumvent the US separation of Church and State laws, at which it spectacularly failed. The solution is to remain vigilant as to the moves the fundamentalist right-wing authoritarian Christian cabal might try next to usurp democracy. And in parallel let’s maintain open and honest dialogue wherever possible.

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  8. Gregory, you are skating very close to (and often over) the rules of this site. Assume others are posting in good faith. Address the post not the poster.

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  9. You allow people to talk of ‘barbequing babies,’ Elizabeth, whether sick joking or not. That’s the reality here.

    Otoh, I’m addressing directly, considerately and thoughtfully what you say, which shows clear and undeniable evidence in words. It is highly questionable and often self-contradictory, whether you personally like it or not.

    Do you wish I would ignore that simply because you intentionally want to picture yourself as outdated (too old to care) & that you haven’t the foresight to acknowledge the single-most effective response to IDism ever presented at TSZ?

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  10. Gregory: Do you wish I would ignore that simply because you intentionally want to picture yourself as outdated (too old to care) & that you haven’t the foresight to acknowledge the single-most effective response to IDism ever presented at TSZ?

    You excluded a middle, there, Gregory.

    Also, sick jokes are not against the rules.

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  11. Gregory: You allow people to talk of ‘barbequing babies,’ Elizabeth, whether sick joking or not. That’s the reality here.

    I’m not sure why you are misunderstanding that.

    It was obviously self-deprecating humor, based on false accusations that are too often leveled against atheism.

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  12. Whatever you do, Neil, try to excuse your defense of that sick (joke) comment.

    Don’t, of course, direct your attention to the clear, simple & straightforward argument I’m making in this thread.

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  13. Gregory,

    I’ve moved a comment to guano. You seem incapable of taking a hint. Please follow the site rules in future.

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  14. GregoryI’m trying to understand why sometimes you capitalise Designer, while at other times you don’t, Lizzie, No clear or explainable pattern seems yet to emerge.

    Is gregory attempting to apply the EF?

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  15. Mung: Is gregory attempting to apply the EF?

    Welcome back, Mung. I admire your chutzpa! 🙂

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  16. GregoryWhat I don’t understand is why people at TSZ don’t jump on board in finding out more of this stcordova desertion. Was he really banned or just lost posting priviledges?

    Perhaps neither one. That remains a distinct possibility.

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  17. It’s not hard, Elizabeth. You stated you’re “too damn old to change”. Thanks, and now let’s move on for those who aren’t.

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  18. Gregory,
    I’m not going to pick apart Gregory’s response to me in detail, partly because it’s too long and partly because it assumes things that aren’t the case.

    Gregory, your previous post, the one to which I responded, regarded the capitalization of “creator” and “designer”. This post, in contrast, discusses the capitalization of “intelligent design”. As it happens, I do indeed capitalize intelligent design in some contexts: not because it’s talking about God as the designer, and not because it’s being used in a technical sense, but because I view it as a proper noun. Intelligent Design refers to a distinct, organized political/religious movement. Capitalizing it thus distinguishes it from broader treatments of intelligent design, including design by humans, and from a theistic belief in an intelligent creator. Different considerations apply to words like “creator” and “designer”.

    Minor note:
    1) Presenting he advice of William Lane Craig is not likely to be effective with me, as one of my more useful heuristics for a happy intellectual life is to ignore anything Craig says on any subject whatever.

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  19. Alan Fox,

    I think Gregory has a point. I’ve wasted many discussions with IDers by not realising the equivocation game was being played. I want to take back the verb “to design” for its standard use and I always now make the distinction using scare quotes and capitals thus: “Intelligent Design”.

    I’m sympathetic to Gregory’s goal, I just think a simple capitalization of one letter is too subtle. I’d rather see equivocations like Timaeus pointed out more explicitly.

    Then again, the intelligent design creationists probably don’t see it as equivocation. Man was created in their god’s image (vice versa in reality, of course) so they both design the same.

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  20. Neil Rickert: In the real world, “designer” and “Designer” mean exactly the same thing.The use of “D” is a matter of respect, but has no significance for meaning.

    In the real world do “god” and “God” mean exactly the same thing? Does the use of “God” indicate a matter of respect while the use of “god” indicates a matter of disrespect or lack of respect?

    What is the proper way to indicate disrespect of or lack of respect for an entity no one believes in?

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  21. Gregory:I have written a book, with another one soon coming, that does just that

    Please send me a copy of each!

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  22. hotshoe_: But I’m totally unwilling to get beat up by Gregory if I (accidentally or out of laziness) either fail to capitalize, or capitalize where it doesn’t work best for my meaning.That’s crap.I won’t beat up anyone else about it, either. I can’t imagine what Gregory is getting out of beating this particular horse.

    You won’t get beat up. Oh, wait. Unless your name is Elizabeth.

    My advice, for what it’s worth:

    Do not mention god or God.

    Do not mention design or Design.

    Do not refer to a designer or a Designer.

    Do not use the word intelligent if you mean Intelligent.

    If you hear the drum, don’t sound a horn.

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  23. Mung: What is the proper way to indicate disrespect of or lack of respect for an entity no one believes in?

    The respect is along the lines of “love the sinner, hate the sin.” Other human beings can earn respect, notwithstanding they may be mistaken of religious matters. Insisting other people obey one’s particular religious convictions is a different matter. I abhor zealots of any kind.

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  24. Mung,

    Is this intended as humour? Then truly Britain and the US are divided by a common language.

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  25. Dear Alan,

    Anyone who has read my posts for any period of time should expect to encounter humour. Perhaps you think I am a machine and incapable of humour. I assure you I am not incapable of humour.

    Brits are funny. Remember when they last tried to conquer the world?

    Meanwhile the US only had to conquer the Brits.

    IIRC, the French helped. Now THAT is funny.

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  26. Alan Fox:.

    Mung,
    You won’t get beat up. Oh, wait. Unless your name is Elizabeth.

    My advice, for what it’s worth:

    Do not mention god or God.

    Do not mention design or Design.

    Do not refer to a designer or a Designer.

    Do not use the word intelligent if you mean Intelligent.

    If you hear the drum, don’t sound a horn..

    Is this intended as humour? Then truly Britain and the US are divided by a common language.

    Hehe. I made a comment just a couple days ago about my failed sense of humor. Must be suddenly improved by exposure to Mung’s comments, because I get this is funny.

    Don’t ask me to explain it. I’m pretty sure I don’t understand why it’s funny but I just have a sense that it works.

    Ya know, the first bits really are true advice: don’t draw the attention of Gregory’s Grammar Hobgoblin by mentioning either “god” or “God” …

    but then it gets down to the unexpected Music Man ending …

    I think it’s the metaphorical clown trombone right there that makes me laugh.

    🙂

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  27. “I’m sympathetic to Gregory’s goal, I just think a simple capitalization of one letter is too subtle. I’d rather see equivocations like Timaeus pointed out more explicitly.”

    Well, I’m occasionally a pretty subtle guy, Patrick, so thanks! 😉

    The equivocations by IDists are common and voluminous. It should thus be understood easily why Mung & stcordova alike simply won’t respond to the charge. Timaeus pulled a Lizzie over at UD (and at BioLogos) by failing to actually face the distinction, hand-waving it away to semantics, etc.

    Why? In short, the capitalisation sinks the IDist ship. I recognise that I’m one of very few pressing this right now, though Gingerich & others have acknowledged it.

    ID cannot be a ‘strictly scientific’ theory if it in *any* way deals with a capitalised ‘Intelligent Designer’ that cannot be studied. And it cannot avoid having to face ‘intelligent designers’ if it is really a theory of lowercase ‘intelligent design’. Which is why IDists religiously avoid the massive, credible, contemporary present and future-looking field of ‘design thinking’ that has nothing in common with its OoL ‘historical science’. Most ‘design theorists’ literally (I’ve witnessed it) laugh at IDism as much as anyone here at TSZ!

    Steve puts it rather well:

    “Capitalizing [Intelligent Design] thus distinguishes it from broader treatments of intelligent design, including design by humans, and from a theistic belief in an intelligent creator.”

    Once non-IDist design theories and design thinking are recognised, IDism shrinks in proportion from the ‘Revolutionary!’ claims of Dembski & Meyer to being a rather insignificant cottage industry aimed almost exclusively at right wing, evangelical protestants who are still ‘smarting’ from their outdated and backwards YECism of decades past (and for a shrinking number, still present).

    Neither Steve nor I are enamoured with WL Craig. Nevertheless, as a leading evangelical protestant, Wheaton College, Campus Crusade, USA philosopher, that he has stated his support for specifying uppercase ‘Intelligent Design’ is significant, given that he is (still) a Fellow of the Discovery Institute. This is indeed rather big news in the brief history of the IDM, which UD folks ignored when the thread cited above went around there.

    Mung’s following questions, though he still avoids mine re: obvious intentional IDist double-talk, are worthwhile if Neil eventually gets around to answer them: http://theskepticalzone.com/wp/?p=27680&cpage=4#comment-66037

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  28. Mung: What is the proper way to indicate disrespect of or lack of respect for an entity no one believes in?

    It isn’t respect for god/God. It is respect for the people who do believe in that god and prefer one to use capitals.

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  29. Gregory:
    Mung’s following questions, though he still avoids mine re: obvious intentional IDist double-talk…

    Just going back through and reviewing old threads.

    Gregory, I have repeatedly invited you to start your own threads on topics you find of interest that concern things I’ve written. So I avoid your questions to the same extent you avoid starting your own threads.

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  30. “I avoid your questions to the same extent you avoid starting your own threads.”

    Rubbish. All you have to do is to face the questions, Mung. If I want to start a thread at TSZ, I will. I am not obliged to jump just because you say so. Your continued avoidance of simple questions has no bearing on that. I really don’t find your contribution significant or coherent in defense of IDism. But your avoidance of highly problematic questions for IDists is easy to witness by anyone on the internet.

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