Why does the DI avoid ‘design’ by non-IDists (read: most normal people)? Yes, design is obvious, just not IDism.

TSZ Moderator Mung wrote over at PS about why he is a design proponent (https://discourse.peacefulscience.org/t/why-i-am-an-id-proponent/2955):

“[I] believe that design is obvious.”

Let’s be clearer and more accurate with our words than are most IDists at the Discovery Institute (DI) based in Seattle. I as well as most, if not all ‘skeptics’ here believe ‘human design’ is obvious. More importantly, however, so do most actual ‘design theorists’ around the world. Do you agree with us about the obvious reality of ‘human design’, Mung, or not?

IDists based at the epicentre of IDism at the DI in Seattle, as well as those who associate themselves with ‘Intelligent Design’ pretty much everywhere else globally, generally refuse to identify & discuss those ‘design theories’ as legitimate scholarship. Why? Is it an unspoken rule their followers are required to obey? Is it just a more than significant oversight on their part which they are innocent for making? Why otherwise would the DI studiously avoid, except for little nibbles of exposure here or there, a rather significant & well-attended field of study already in existence, using the same exact term as theirs: ‘design’?

Is it fathomable that this is because the DI knows that if they were to expose legitimate ‘design theorists’ who reject IDism as voices in their media echo chambers, those scholars & scientists, philosophers & even sometimes theologians, might outshine their own reactionary politically-oriented ‘intelligent design theories’ (acknowledging it the way they always officially write it now, in lowercase form, according to DI hidden policy) and thus upset the Founders & Donors of the IDM?

Non-IDists, however, who are far & away the vast majority of normal people, know that the DI is hiding inconvenient facts like that there are large numbers of non-persecuted ‘design theorists’ out there doing just fine. Hurrah, would anyone at the DI say for those ‘design theorists’? The DI is intent on pushing a culture-warring political narrative to oppose what it calls ‘cultural materialism’ (& other such names in their rhetorical playbooks, still drawn largely along the lines of the lawyerly Phillip Johnson days). Are you aware of any of this, Mung? And if you are, then why don’t you take some intellectual, political or at least financial stand against what they are doing?

“The only contender for explaining the appearance of design is Darwinism.” – Mung

This is incorrect. The actuality of ‘design’ (meaning philosophically speaking; being, existing, essence, substantiated, manifest, etc., yet somehow the ‘intelligence’ again here got dropped, in order to focus on the DI’s supersized ‘D’-word), not just the mere ‘appearance’ (cf. inferentialism) of ‘design’ (with a little ‘d’), has little to nothing to do with ‘Darwinism.’ There are thus good reasons the DI runs away from public conversations about proper & improper uses of their grammar, since they have invested such a massive stake in their credibility upon that one devastatingly ‘obvious’ term.

NB: Mung, I would rather prefer that you, & other IDists or fideists here *not* mention ‘Darwinism’ because it is clearly, already & long enough ago the wrong term for this discussion at the front lines. The actuality of ‘human design’ & community of its ‘designers’ has already been validated by more than enough scholars & scientists to have achieved ‘consensus’ & just by its existence negates the DI’s cries of injustice & unfairness against ‘design theorists’ & ‘design thinking’ in the Academy & higher education. There is simply a consensus about ‘design’ that the DI blatantly ignores.

In this author’s humble opinion, the DI does this so that they can play themselves off to their funding channels as vicitimised underdogs who made a genius discovery about ‘information’ & ‘intelligence’ (they apparently negate materialism, full stop) that all people everywhere should ‘scientific’ evangelicalistically learn about it (but they admit not yet ready for schools). And as you know, with ‘ID’ (so cute & easy to think of as a cross between Identity – ID & Intelligence Quota – IQ) the DI deep down believes their theory holds implications for, as Behe not-humbly stated, “all humane studies.” What is this other than mousetrap-style nonsense & exaggeration parading as Science?

“There is no design in nature. More specifically, there is no design in biology. Contra Darwin. Contra Dawkins. etc. That’s one way to approach it. Who are the proponents of that position?” – Mung (edited to remove the superfluous inferentialist ‘appearance of’)

So yeah, I’m a proponent of that position. The concept of ‘design’ is largely considered now just (read: has become) a category error in biology, pure & simple. End of story. Stop blaming anyone for this except the DI & the IDM themselves. The shame of endless lobbying & propagandising remains. Theists especially don’t need to use ‘design’ to create an Engineer’s God made in their own image & don’t think the DI following Thaxton, Bradley & Olsen, Johnson, Behe, Meyer, Chapman, West, Gordon, Nelson & others has reinvented sliced bread. It’s an embarrassment to scholarship and intellectual integrity!

Perceiving things this way of course runs contra Dembski, contra Behe, contra Meyer, contra West, contra Wells, contra Axe, contra Gonzales, contra Gauger, contra Denton (with his engaging numbness to Design, likewise contra Berlinski), contra Marks, contra Ewert & other ideological IDists who do not know the appropriate and proper limits to ‘designist’ thinking and engage in ‘intelligence faking.’ These are not appropriately trained, honestly aspiring (double-talking, polemical rhetoric, etc.) or philosophically well-balanced scholars (Meyer’s dissertation at Cambridge is funny – he started it by redefining ‘history’ to suit his ideology). The DI invested in a religious-political platform for themselves (built also around Gilder’s radical economic futuristics) through institutional channels & has milked their funding bodies for ‘fear capital’ to stay afloat as they propagandise & polemicise the US cultural landscape. This is the basic sociological reality of the IDM & it’s proponents at the DI.

So, are you part of that ‘evangelical milking’ via allegiance to a linguistic frame of communicating that smacks of ‘designist’ ideology? Such is the blatant strategy & the provocative motif of the DI in their outward communications, Mung. Think ‘design/Design’ as much as you can & you may lose some of the richness that remains in the larger Narrative. If you wish to seek greater balance, how then do you distinguish yourself from the DI’s on-going propaganda & oftentimes petty (Klinghoffer & O’Leary at the moment) divisive culture warring, such that you would fit ‘design’ in among several other categories of ideas, rather than priviledging & lofting it up on high as Seattle’s DI & their little satellites do?

Rejecting ‘design in nature’ is also, those early readers here might remember as there was a disturbance with him at UD, a position that runs contra Adrian Bejan, an atheist-egoist Romanian thermodynamicist whose work the DI likewise all but silences by conveniently ignoring it. Not unlike deplatforming, these omissions by the DI are from adequately engaging with ‘design theory,’ design theorists, designers themselves, and now the work of an author who uses the same language as they do: ‘design in nature.’ His only crime, it seems? Being an atheist. Otherwise, why wouldn’t the DI be all over this person who is more credentialled & sought after for speaking invitations than most of their entire ‘faculty of thinkers’ at their Think Tank with his ‘design in nature’ theory & ‘constructal law’? Is that simply ‘too scientific’ for the DI, whose Biologic Institute just isn’t about physics; a biology-only research logic & strategy for funding purposes to feed their self-proclaimed ‘revolution’?

S. Joshua Swamidass (WUSTL) is of course partly correct when he notes in the same thread to Mung that, “The appearance of design, outside of [natural] scientific study, is not actually ID.” Yes, but the DI is slippery about it. Joshua & I & many others reject Mung’s (& Behe’s & the ‘philosophers’ of the IDM) ‘obvious design’ view of IDism. The category error isn’t something most IDists will own up to with their rhetoric.

The continued & well-thought out rejection of IDism/IDT by Abrahamic theists must unfortunately offend the purists at the DI. That seems to matter little at this point, however, for all they’ve willingly put themselves through in order to reinvent the ‘D-word’ & risk offending others who see a better more constructive way forward. Most people are rather well aware that applied sciences (from engineering to creative arts & business) use ‘design thinking’ regularly, while IDists stick their heads in the sand in denial about it.

Swamidass, on the other hand, is clearly self-selective with his recent memory, for example, when he argues: “I would not associate with any organization that makes bad arguments for evolution.”

This is false, as on the individual level Joshua would rather defend atheist cultural evolutionists, than actually taking effort to listen to an alternative to his oftentimes superficial ideological positioning re: MN & creationism. As a result, we get what appears as almost ‘universal evolutionism’ sometimes from Swamidass; he just doesn’t know where to stop the notion of ‘evolving’ in the natural world!

Joshua continues: “Why do you think I left BioLogos?”

As a note of private research, I’ve been watching Swamidass’ heroic genetical Adamics & genealogicalistics closely since he began going public not long ago with his works at BioLogos, after being invited there to join them in Francis Collins’ project. Let’s set the record straight; Joshua left BioLogos not long after accusing them of being racist towards him. The record shows, however, that he was himself the initiator of ‘racism talk’ there & so it went quickly downhill.

The suggestion that Swamidass, newly blessed with tenure in Missouri, didn’t actively escalate his challenge to likewise philosophically almost illiterate geneticist Dennis Venema in B.C. (TWU) & puff up his chest towards his fellow evangelicals & their specific ‘mission’ at BioLogos is highly misleading. Joshua is still swimming in the same waters with BioLogos-style evangelicals & now wishes to pose a kind of ‘fifth voice’ challenge to them (that’s why he got bombarded from fellow USAmericans with concern for his ‘faith & politics’ when he posted about BioLogos as possibly being called ‘post-evangelicals,’ when it appears he is more one himself!) in generating a swarm of potentially highly divisive genealogical Adamistics around his own research & “Science of Adam” book plans. He just doesn’t seem to realise the consequences his provocations so far & people at PS so far aren’t pressing him for answers about it.

“If someone has a better alternative than ‘Intelligent Design’ I don’t know what it is.” – Mung

Noted with thanks, you capitalised ‘Intelligent Design’ because that is the proper & most accurate way to signify what the DI means by it, even though they lack the courage & dignity to write & clarify that openly in public. The DI’s ‘strictly scientific’ IDism (they call it IDT) requirement bars them from speaking with the honesty that you have just displayed. Why do you think they can’t allow themselves to properly capitalise ‘Intelligent Design’ since everyone knows via ‘father of the IDM’ Phillip Johnson what they really mean? It is left as one of those mysteries of the Pacific mindset that the DI still holds itself back from wider credibility through such manoeuvers.

If you mean you believe that biology is ‘Designed by God’ then by all means, yes say that is what you intended, Mung. This is much preferred to instead parading around duplicitously as the DI still does further degrading themselves as interlocutors (e.g. Klinghoffer). Even Vincent Torley, who has now unofficially left the IDM, properly capitalises that term! As religious monotheists, we already accept a ‘Designed’ world in the capitalised sense without trying to ‘scientise’ our theological orientation in order to overcome local schoolboard restrictions based on the US Constitution. The rest of us acknowledge divine Creation, instead of harping on ‘Design’ & trying to ‘scientise’ it.

As for alternatives, I use an inherently teleological term ‘extension,’ that doesn’t double-talk like the DI does between human design & Divine Design. That’s a much better approach than IDism don’t you think, Mung? Human extension has also been considerably more impactful not only just ‘within’ social sciences & humanities, but also as applied in societies globally, than either ‘mere design’ or ‘actual evolution.’ Cultural evolutionists of course disagree with both my position and claims of any alternatives to their ‘theory’, while still pushing ahead their Darwin-disenchanted views of human society without meaningful hope of finding ‘strictly scientific’ evidence for their anti-IDT grand ideological, usually religion-substitute plans for ‘evolution’ to conceptually rule the realm of culture & ideas.

At the end of the day, human agency & free will aren’t easily persuaded that they don’t exist. ; ) They simply don’t package deterministically into a repeatable, verifiable ‘mechanism’ of change-over-time for evolutionists to justify cocking & crowing about themselves as ‘sustainable development gurus!’ (https://evolution-institute.org/) At the same time, through the DI’s apologetic faith-channels mainly only flat-minded fools are still falling for their IDism anymore. Better options are now available that are not myopically focussed on a single word or bent towards skepticism &/or atheism. Maybe Mung just needs another inspiration that is doing something actually ‘scientific’ approach to join in with rather than maintaining allegiance to & support of the DI? It sounds like he’s ready for some non-evolutionary change.

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140 thoughts on “Why does the DI avoid ‘design’ by non-IDists (read: most normal people)? Yes, design is obvious, just not IDism.

  1. Entropy:

    (1) Given that we’re humans, that our everyday experiences involve teleological shit (intention by other humans), we’d tend to talk in teleological terms, look for “reasons” and “intentions,” whether there’s any such things or not.

    (2) Teleologically-worded explanations work as shortcuts. It takes much longer to talk in non-teleological terms, perhaps precisely because our language developed, obviously, with ourselves in mind, and because it leads to a lot of passive voice, and journal editors discourage the use of passive voice.

    On your 1: I agree; people’s tendency to attribute intentions where there are objectively and obviously none is well documented in psychology (eg Heider Simmer illusion). Maybe there is an explanation in evolutionary psychology for that human tendency!

    On your 2: I see the specific issue as backwards causation, which modern science avoids (and which Aristotle’s final/teleological cause seems to require). The naturalist approach can be taken as either explaining it or eliminating it by invoking only efficient causation.

    Whether is it fair to label something in nature as “design” without begging the question against the position which avoids involving intelligence to explain it is a issue I’ll leave for Gregory’s expertise.

    ETA: Whether it is fair to name the naturalist position as teleonaturalism (or some variant using ‘teleo’), as does SEP, is a question I’ll leave to Mung. After all, a rose by any other name would still have been designed to be a cash crop since it has the functions of fragrance and beauty.

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  2. BruceS: Opinions divide over whether Darwin’s theory of evolution provides a means of eliminating teleology from biology, or whether it provides a naturalistic account of the role of teleological notions in the science. Many contemporary biologists and philosophers of biology believe that teleological notions are a distinctive and ineliminable feature of biological explanations but that it is possible to provide a naturalistic account of their role that avoids the concerns above [which are vitalism, backwards causation, incompatibility with mechanistic explanation, mentalism, unsuitable for empirical test]..

    I agree that there is a good naturalistic explanation of teleology but I think it lies in far-from-equilibrium dynamics, not in evolutionary theory. Evolutionary theory presupposes a naturalistic explanation of teleology and therefore cannot provide it. For more, see Dynamics in Action.

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  3. I don’t like the word presupposes.

    Naturalism assumes regularity, but encourages the search for exceptions.

    Exceptions are where careers are made.

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  4. “our language developed, obviously, with ourselves in mind, and because it leads to a lot of passive voice, and journal editors discourage the use of passive voice.” – Entropy

    Developed, yes. When you say, “with ourselves in mind,” the obvious question is which mind(s)? Are you suggesting language has it’s own ‘mind’? Or is this a variety of externalism that also fits with Darwin’s anthropomorphism in the combo of ‘natural selection’ (which he fairly likely came up with via Patrick Matthew), as if ‘nature’ were an ‘agent’ (horticuluturist or plant breeder) that ‘selects’?

    Regarding passive voice, I agree that journal editors often discourage it. However, ‘passive voice’ and ‘evolution’ overlap considerably in many fields. A cursory glance at the literature will reveal this to any doubters or ‘skeptics’. Passive voice; thy name hollers repeatedly at evolution! = P

    Development language otoh often takes more active form. That seems to be a general rule of usage in comparing these two terms ‘evolution’ & ‘development’.

    This is why people don’t use the verb forms ‘I evolve[d]/You evolve[d]/S/He/It evolves[d]/We evolve[d]/They evolve[d] // I am evolving, etc.’. Such uses usually only come from the most radical evolutionists, far outside the mainstream & uncommon, who have a philosophical or worldview agenda they wish to display.

    “Teleological language works because it makes sense. People who do not believe in teleology should stop speaking as if they do.” – Mung

    Yes, agreed.

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  5. Mung:
    We already know there is such a thing, so why ignore what we know?

    When did I say we should ignore what we know?

    Mung:
    Teleological language works because it makes sense.

    Maybe you missed my point, so here it goes reworded: being used to thinking in teleological terms makes it look as if it makes sense when dealing with things where we don’t actually know if there’s conscious intentions. You’re letting your “human bias” get in the way of your understanding. But not everything in nature was done by some human. Not everything in nature was done with intentions. At least not until proven otherwise.

    Mung:
    People who do not believe in teleology should stop speaking as if they do.

    I agree. Every time I review a manuscript I ask for that kind of language to be removed (when it’s inappropriate). I do my part.

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  6. “being used to thinking in teleological terms makes it look as if it makes sense when dealing with things where we don’t actually know if there’s conscious intentions. You’re letting your ‘human bias’ get in the way of your understanding. But not everything in nature was done by some human. Not everything in nature was done with intentions.” – Entropy to Mung

    Well said & fair enough. & ‘done’ could twice be switched with ‘design’ too.

    Does that mean nature is ‘conscious’?

    Often the next step from there is a jump to querying ‘self-consciousness,’ then to identifying what is a ‘self,’ a person, (a soul or spirit,) a human being.

    Final & formal causes return to ‘currency’ only through the social sciences & humanities. It becomes a major question if evolutionary psychology & anthropology a la David S. Wilson is a blessing (presumably, for the Earth) or a curse (of dehumanisation). However, at this site, it does not seem that Wilson or evopsych are anyone’s problem to be concerned with.

    That becomes a problem, nevertheless, when consciousness, intention, purpose and teleology in life are being discussed, & the options do not always end for people in skepticism.

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  7. Entropy: (2) Teleologically-worded explanations work as shortcuts. It takes much longer to talk in non-teleological terms, perhaps precisely because our language developed, obviously, with ourselves in mind, and because it leads to a lot of passive voice, and journal editors discourage the use of passive voice.

    People write in journals using teleological terms because it saves time? And journal editors discourage the use of the passive voice.

    Haha. So journals editors would prefer you save time and say things you actually don’t mean, often the exact opposite of what you mean, because its faster and avoids a passive voice.

    Funny those editors are, eh.

    I can think of all kinds of ways to write which save time, and which avoid the passive voice, and which may mean something entirely different than the intended meaning. Heck, maybe the journal editors should just let the writers use emojis to write.

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  8. Entropy, I have a much better theory as to why people write using teleological terms rather than saying what they actually mean. Its because if they write what they actually mean, 98% of the readers won’t believe a thing they are saying.

    For instance, that tear ducts popped up by some accidental fluke, and they just so happened to be useful where they landed. Or that cell membranes fluked into existence, and found a useful niche. Or if they wrote that consciousness is a result of uv radiation caused damage to a very imperfect copying of a bag of chemicals.

    Maybe one day the science journals could try for a few weeks letting the writers write what they ACTUALLY mean. Maybe the editors can give them a few extra hours to write this time. It would be an interesting experiment with the truth, don’t you think?

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  9. That’s right!
    Authors use teleological language because no-one would believe them otherwise. Here’s an example where the authors talk about enzymes recognizing a DNA sequence. All this talk about “recognition” sequences, because if they wrote “bind and cleave” no-one would believe them.
    Satire. You are doing it wrong.

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  10. phoodoo:
    People write in journals using teleological terms because it saves time?

    It’s often called the power of the metaphor.

    phoodoo:
    And journal editors discourage the use of the passive voice.

    Yep.

    phoodoo:
    Haha. So journals editors would prefer you save time and say things you actually don’t mean, often the exact opposite of what you mean, because its faster and avoids a passive voice.

    The opposite of what you mean? No phoodoo, as long as readers understand that the teleology is metaphorical, it should work. I still discourage it though.

    phoodoo:
    Funny those editors are, eh.

    If they wanted you to write the opposite of what you meant they’d be. But you’ve got it wrong.

    phoodoo:
    I can think of all kinds of ways to write which save time, and which avoid the passive voice, and which may mean something entirely different than the intended meaning.

    Why would you want to mean something entirely different than the intended meaning?

    phoodoo:
    Heck, maybe the journal editors should just let the writers use emojis to write.

    You’re been sarcastic, but I fear this might become the norm when the millennials have completely taken over. I have made this kind of reductio-ad-absurdum jokes, only to see it happen later.

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  11. Entropy,

    How long does it take to write, “eyes fluked into existence” , rather than ‘they evolved in order to allow sight”?

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  12. phoodoo:
    How long does it take to write, “eyes fluked into existence” , rather than ‘they evolved in order to allow sight”?

    Doesn’t matter. They don’t seem to convey the same message.

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  13. phoodoo: Entropy, I have a much better theory as to why people write using teleological terms rather than saying what they actually mean. Its because if they write what they actually mean, 98% of the readers won’t believe a thing they are saying.

    No it’s often because it would take many more words to describe. But it can be done, and there’s nothing wrong with it.

    Eyes evolved because organisms that acted in particular ways on the detection of changes in electromagnetic radiation coming from their surroundings, on average left more offspring than members of the same population that couldn’t detect it or didn’t act on in the same way.

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  14. Rumraket: Eyes evolved because organisms that acted in particular ways on the detection of changes in electromagnetic radiation coming from their surroundings, on average left more offspring than members of the same population that couldn’t detect it or didn’t act on in the same way.

    Cool, a new theory of evolution.

    If you act a certain way, you will get new organs.

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  15. phoodoo,

    Rumraket used multiple subordinate clauses. This has evidently confused you.
    Here is a parsing of what he wrote:

    Eyes evolved because organisms [restrictive relative clause] that acted in particular ways on the detection of changes in electromagnetic radiation coming from their surroundings, on average left more offspring than members of the same population [restrictive relative clause] that couldn’t detect it or didn’t act on in the same way.

    See? Organisms that did A left more offspring than organisms that did not.
    There’s no “if you act in a certain way, you will get new organs”.
    It’s really quite a simple concept.

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  16. DNA_Jock: Rumraket used multiple subordinate clauses. This has evidently confused you.

    It is interesting to see two extremes of the charitable reading spectrum as consecutive posts.

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  17. DNA_Jock:
    phoodoo,

    Rumraket used multiple subordinate clauses. This has evidently confused you.
    Here is a parsing of what he wrote:

    See? Organisms that did A left more offspring than organisms that did not.
    There’s no “if you act in a certain way, you will get new organs”.
    It’s really quite a simple concept.

    Organisms that did A left more offspring than those that did B, so…eyes!

    Quite simple!

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  18. I think phoodoo is confused because I have only really explained how it is that the sense of sight has a survival value under certain circumstances, and therefore how that trait will very likely rise to fixation in a population subject to those circumstances, without employing any teleological language. But phoodoo probably wanted an explanation that includes how there comes to be a sense of sight in the first place, where before there was none. As in, an explanation for the emergence of the sense of sight, that does not employ teleological language. Again, that wouldn’t be particularly difficult to do, it would just require more words.

    Eyes evolved because because mutations in certain transmembrane receptor proteins (GPCRs) coupled to intracellular reaction cascades, which rendered those proteins sensitive to light (making them into what we recognize as opsins), caused carrier organisms that acted in particular ways on the detection of changes in electromagnetic radiation coming from their surroundings, to leave more offspring on average, than members of the same population that couldn’t detect it (because they didn’t suffer the same mutations) or didn’t act on in the same way.

    I don’t see the problem here.

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  19. Rumraket:
    I don’t see the problem here.

    The problem is phoodoo’s lack of training in reading for comprehension. Funny thing is, in her stubbornness, phoodoo is making my point: explaining the actual stuff is lengthier and harder than using those metaphors. So much so that phoodoo “misses” the point each and every time.

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  20. Most creationists (and Mung) leap on examples of biologists using teleological language as demonstrations that the biologists actually believe in teleology in evolution, even if they don’t realize it.
    Phoodoo has chosen door B: biologists do NOT believe in teleology in evolution, but they dishonestly use teleological language because if they wrote honestly, 98% of people would not believe them.
    So biologists talk about restriction enzymes “recognizing” a DNA sequence, because if they actually talked about binding energy and catalysis, no one would believe them.
    Teh projection is strong in this one.

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  21. I guess it’s also a fluke that eyes happen to work in the range they do, given most other EM wavelengths are blocked by the atmosphere. That the sun is particularly active in those wavelengths we can see is also likely a fluke.

    So yeah, it’s the same sort of fluke that ensures fish don’t drown. More quality IDing there…

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  22. phoodoo: If you act a certain way, you will get new organs.

    Yes, it was due to acting in certain ways that I obtained all my keyboards.

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  23. OMagain: I guess it’s also a fluke that eyes happen to work in the range they do, given most other EM wavelengths are blocked by the atmosphere. That the sun is particularly active in those wavelengths we can see is also likely a fluke.

    And not just vision. Frankly, too many flukes to be believable.

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  24. Allan Miller: Yep, it’s a remarkable fact that eyes only work in the visible part of the spectrum …

    X-ray vision is just anther evolutionist myth then?

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  25. Teleological conversations often enter here, though the main message of the OP was about IDists avoiding design by non-IDists. It’s not like people don’t often engage teleological thinking in regular activities & when thinking about most things in our human-made environments.

    Entropy wrote: “being used to thinking in teleological terms makes it look as if it makes sense when dealing with things where we don’t actually know if there’s conscious intentions.” I responded above already, but it may be worth noting that when we do actually know there are conscious intentions, that is what I meant is hushed & silenced by IDists. Calling (especially capitalised) ‘Design’ as a category error in the strictly natural scientific field of biology makes sense in order to distinguish fideism from materialism, a move attempted by many IDists.

    “To make it look as if it makes sense” is what I would say about D.S. Wilson’s ‘Evolution Institute.’ It is just as intellectually loopy & quirky as the Discovery Institute. And Wilson’s (atheistic) religious naturalism may even be yet more pernicious with its smarmy rationalist distortions & cultish inclinations than anything the DI has managed.

    The middle ground solution that others have suggested & that the DI has yet to accept, or from what I have read, to even publicly address, is for the IDM to finally acknowledge the existence of ‘design theories’ other than their own in a constructive way. Well then, maybe the new Moderator at TSZ, Mung, former supporter of the DI, is just the person for this task! = )

    Mung suggests he has many non-IDist books about ‘design theory’ & ‘design thinking’ & is looking to somehow combine IDT/IDism with ‘design thinking’ & (normal) non-ID ‘design theories’. Yet the DI has made a golden calf for its flock to worship framed as a ‘cultural renewal’ movement & will do nothing to listen to the many balanced, respected/ful & credible scholars, including many scientists & religious theists who have opposed IDism. The length of the IDMs protestations one might finally realise has by now gone too far. Design theorists, not IDists, are doing credible work aplenty these days. That’s why the DI’s CSC, starting with Meyer & West, blinds it’s flock to the facts.

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  26. Gregory: Well then, maybe the new Moderator at TSZ, Mung, former supporter of the DI, is just the person for this task! = )

    Something for me to do in my retirement perhaps. In the meantime I am seeking to get the DI and Peaceful Science to find common ground in their common battle against Darwinism.

    Gregory: Mung suggests he has many non-IDist books about ‘design theory’ & ‘design thinking’ & is looking to somehow combine IDT/IDism with ‘design thinking’ & (normal) non-ID ‘design theories’.

    Call it a dream of mine. I don’t know about “many” though, unless we include my books on software development. My ears perk up every time someone at EN tries to make a connection between biology and software.

    That “design patterns” or “engineering patterns” might be found in some analogous way in living organisms, is an intriguing thought.

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  27. From Darwin in the Genome:

    Once inside, HIV experiments.

    Genomes can prepare for the unexpected by being diverse.

    Teleological language?

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  28. Mung:
    From Darwin in the Genome:

    Once inside, HIV experiments.

    Genomes can prepare for the unexpected by being diverse.

    Teleological language?

    I would say, very much so — if we consider “teleological” as the shorthand projection of purpose where no actual purpose is intended. Robust systems are good at resisting various sorts of insults. It’s probably the case that we even HAVE robust systems because those are the ones that have survived. And surely one aspect of being robust is having plenty of variation, and/or the ability to produce it.

    What seems to set the naturalistic notion of design in nature distinct from the DI’s view of design, is the attribution of Design to some ineffable, unobservable, untestable, presumed agency which DOES have long-term purposes and plans. The former (“natural” design) is a combination of good functional fortune and statistical probabilities, the second is essentially religious.

    So I suggest that Good Teleology is jargon, a linguistically compact description not misleading to those who understand. Bad Teleology is the explicit or implicit projection of an imaginary agency as a place-holder to explain what is NOT understood, which it its worst not only substitutes for understanding, but militates against it.

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  29. Mung,

    “In the meantime I am seeking to get the DI and Peaceful Science to find common ground in their common battle against Darwinism.”

    It’s a pretty desperate goal imho. And I just don’t get, nor of course do I share your insistence on ‘Darwinism.’ Joshua’s quite clearly not ‘battling against Darwinism’ & thinks it’s an old paradigm, not used today. You & the DI are on an island on that topic where ‘Darwinism’ is repeated so many times as to become almost nauseating for others.

    The ‘common ground’ between PS & DI that’s possible would only come at BioLogos’ loss right now. Joshua is also play-fighting with Reasons to Believe & Answers in Genesis. His ‘mainly evangelicals’ corner of the Science & Religion discourse is much more openly ‘confessional’ than the DIs, so I’m not sure what ‘common ground’ you’re going to find there. Plus, Swamidass *HATES* pseudonymity & anonymity, whereas the DI actually recommends it to students of its Summer Program. Quite a difference in approaches, indeed! ; )

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  30. Gregory: Joshua’s quite clearly not ‘battling against Darwinism’ & thinks it’s an old paradigm, not used today.

    Yes, that’s what he thinks. Evidence to the contrary be damned. And the evidence to the contrary is overwhelming. What does that tell us about JS?

    Gregory: You & the DI are on an island on that topic where ‘Darwinism’ is repeated so many times as to become almost nauseating for others.

    All the more reason JS and the DI should join forces to stamp out any remaining traces from science and popular opinion. The Death of TSZ soon to follow.

    JS, protector of science, unless it’s Darwinian science, in which case he can safely ignore it, because no one believes that shit anymore, regardless of the books and papers supporting it. It poisons all his “conversations” with IDists. He accused Behe of holding the position that “IC1 systems cannot evolve by natural mechanisms.”

    Gregory: Plus, Swamidass *HATES* pseudonymity & anonymity…

    His “hatred” is selective.

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  31. Mung,

    All the more reason JS and the DI should join forces to stamp out any remaining traces from science and popular opinion.

    If you apply a label indiscriminately, it’s going to be particularly tough to stamp out that to which you apply it.

    The Death of TSZ soon to follow.

    Yay! Go mods!

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  32. Mung,

    “Yes, that’s what he thinks. Evidence to the contrary be damned. And the evidence to the contrary is overwhelming. What does that tell us about JS?”

    The same thing it tells us about most people who have faced the evidence; he has chosen carefully to discard the ideology of ‘Darwinism’ as well as accept the ‘non-Darwinian’ upgrades in biological sciences since the late 19th century, including the 1930s-50s boom & the more recent turn to a ‘third way’ which is *explicitly* not ‘Darwinistic.’

    The barrier here is not evidential, it is psychological, Mung, because the DI leaders know that they perpetuate their own false myths & feed them to their not insignificant # of backwards-looking followers. They have been told & requested to clarify the distinctions & stop double-talking, yet continue with their conniving schemes, with a dream that they are themselves actually ‘revolutionaries’ and not just poseurs of that title.

    “All humane studies,” your beloved & championed Behe boasted in print, Mung. Why not accept that as evidence too & respond to it?

    If the DI & IDM leadership *really* wanted to talk about lowercase ‘intelligent design’ without offending others (it seems Mung is assuming they do), they could easily do it & they know this already. It would look something like cybernetic ID (something like what Steve Fuller is doing with his transhumanism), rather than what they do now (which is about origins of life & [biological] information). Indeed, one of the ironic howls (like it used to arise in the recent howler from Seattle, RIP) about IDism in the IDM starting at its headquarters in Seattle is that they cant’ accept what is evidently obvious to the rest of us ‘normal’ people & have painted themselves into a corner of self-distortion. Human made design, design thinking & design theories are that which good scholars do, yet which is deemed not worthy of mention by IDists. Why is it not worthy of the DI’s mention, Mung? Will you finally address this seriously?

    From that small niche, a cadre of IDists claiming ‘movement’ status are insisting on ‘intelligent design theory’ made by ‘design theorists’ who they tell us they believe are rather excellent scholars with a revolutionary genius idea (not by a single person, but by committee). The main problem according to the IDists’ narrative is that they are being persecuted by their ‘culture’ & thus they do not receive their just do as amazing scientists & philosophers (they don’t acknowledge theologians openly as IDists & theologians aren’t leaders of the IDM). The DI feels ‘disrespected’ by scientists based largely on educational politics (left-leaning universities, editorial boards, funding bodies, etc.). And they chose their ‘movement’ & built their own press & partnered with a film studio to fight back.

    In some senses, the IDM is kinda like blockchain yet without Satoshi Nakamoto himself who made the crucial innovation. Phillip Johnson comes closest, the gadfly that he was until he got stuffed by Lamoureux & they realised they couldn’t go against (so-called methodological) ‘naturalism’ as directly as he would have them do. Dembski is a self-declared ‘revolutionary’ who really just tried to solve his dad’s challenge in biology, not a field Dembski himself studied. That’s the IDM’s best … & then there’s ‘devolution’ Behe & his Darwinism fetish. It’s a scar on Mung’s dung to be supporting them or suggesting they have a place within ‘peaceful science’.

    Fetishes with ‘Darwin & design’ are rampant among IDists. Spend a week at the DI’s summer program & you’ll see this amply. Do you doubt it Mung, not that you yourself display it?

    The most credible & wisest of the IDists (it’s a rather low number compared to similar ‘movements’) are the ones who use the combo ‘intelligent + design’ and the separate terms I+D as sparingly as possible. Gauger is above the biology ladder (though apparently not by institution) compared with Swamidass & she is a clearer communicator than Joshua. But in contrast with Swamidass who prefers the mainstream (other than his claim of ‘genealogical Adam & Eve’ which is far more fringe & fraught with landmines than Joshua seems to realise), Gauger’s got that radical fringe passion streak that most of the IDM’s leaders possess; indeed, ‘intentionally’ not to lead at productive natural science, but rather to pose & posture & in the end to practically promote a circus of discord among scientists, philosophers & theologians. That is what IDists do, Mung, that has been part of their tactics!

    You are now part of that discord, Mung, by association & your encouragement of them. Yet you know of a better way already, you choose it not & speak not of it. And now yet another dance of communicative jousting goes on over at PS, where the heavy hand of ideological Swamidass is in full display on a regular basis & his choice of wing-men open to see in public.

    It is your unforgiving blame of Darwin, as if he were Pilate, that has to stop, Mung. The rest of us have moved on from his ‘paradigm’ already & you & your ‘tribe’ of IDists are left behind skulking at a battle lost. I imagine that some, even if only a small # in the IDM can see & hear enough to recognise this. You folks are missing the impending iceberg, while thrilled to be talking about ice cubes as to whether or not they might have been formed anthropogenically. It’s a pity, but that’s Meyer & West & crew in Seattle; a western Potemkin village of ‘science.’

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  33. Gregory: It is your unforgiving blame of Darwin, as if he were Pilate, that has to stop, Mung.

    Darwin should have washed his hands. I don’t know what you are talking about. Stop blaming Darwin for what? I blame Alfred Russell Wallace.

    Gregory: Fetishes with ‘Darwin & design’ are rampant among IDists. Spend a week at the DI’s summer program & you’ll see this amply. Do you doubt it Mung, not that you yourself display it?

    I’ve explained why that is. Would you like me to repeat it?

    Gregory: It’s a scar on Mung’s dung to be supporting them or suggesting they have a place within ‘peaceful science’.

    Joshua is the one suggesting that. I’m talking about how to actually bring it about. You appear to be saying it is not possible. You are both aligned with Joshua and against Joshua. He probably find you as confusing as he does me. 🙂

    Gregory: & the more recent turn to a ‘third way’ which is *explicitly* not ‘Darwinistic.’

    Let me know when the “third way” becomes the majority view and when Darwinism really is dead.

    Gregory: Why is it not worthy of the DI’s mention, Mung? Will you finally address this seriously?

    I don’t know why. It’s not like their commonly expressed objections to common descent, where I can understand why they continually harp on that. If I had to guess though, I’d say money. Isn’t it always about the money?

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  34. “I blame Alfred Russell Wallace.”

    Go figure. The DI via Flannery has called Wallace ‘the godfather of ID’. 😉 So you should be on about Wallaceism, not Darwinism. I guess that means you’ll switch? Or was that just distortion?

    “Would you like me to repeat it?”

    This means you don’t doubt the Darwin fetish among IDists. Good. At least we agree it is real. Expelled Syndrome, that’s a further problematic situation for the IDM.

    “I’m talking about how to actually bring it about. You appear to be saying it is not possible.”

    I’m not saying it is not possible, but it doesn’t look like Joshua is going to succeed in getting Behe or Axe to his curiously named, partly appeasing title ‘Peaceful Science’, given the sociological approach he is currently using to invite, protect, sometimes badger & try to engage people there. He is making that site run largely by himself with older evangelical, Lutheran or ‘unitarian’ allies to support him. His confessionalism is protestant evangelicalism, so that’s going to colour the way his ‘unity’ is envisaged & what is possible.

    “Let me know when the ‘third way’ becomes the majority view and when Darwinism really is dead.”

    Darwin died long ago. Darwin’s work is still relevant & important, though not ‘correct’ in all ways. To the people who matter in biology, the actual scientists doing the work that the DI is constantly ‘skeptical’ about, ‘Darwinism’ isn’t the main issue or governing paradigm anymore. You’re fascinated by beating a dead horse, apparently.

    “I don’t know why. It’s not like their commonly expressed objections to common descent, where I can understand why they continually harp on that. If I had to guess though, I’d say money.”

    Thanks for that admission. Well, yes, that’s largely it. The DI business model is predicated on victimisation that is undeserved. Design theorists, design thinking and designing is all around us; they are choosing to ignore it because to do so would result in a drying up of the money for Behe, Denton & Dembski, but most importantly for Meyer & West who run the CSC. It’s not ‘all about the money’, but in so far as it is, Meyer & West have the most to answer for their double-talking & attitudes of denial & irritation towards fellow religious theists who have openly rebuked them.

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  35. Fun fact: Wallace wrote a book called Darwinism, if that hasn’t been mentioned already.

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  36. Mung:
    Let me know when the “third way” becomes the majority view

    That cannot happen because the third way is a bunch of people who have very little in common, therefore not really one view. There’s also the problem that they’re “united” by a profoundly stupid “idea.”

    Mung:
    and when Darwinism really is dead.

    When you say Darwinism what do you actually mean? Do you mean the idea that there’s natural selection? The idea that there’s evolution? The idea that we share common ancestry with the rest of the apes? What?

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  37. Entropy: When you say Darwinism what do you actually mean? Do you mean the idea that there’s natural selection? The idea that there’s evolution? The idea that we share common ancestry with the rest of the apes? What?

    Ha.

    Entropy has never heard of ID apparently.

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  38. I’d like to know what is meant by that word too. It has been my experience through discussions such as these, that ID proponents understand the term “Darwinism” to be more or less equal to the statement “life evolved by natural processes without design”.

    But in their rush to consign Darwinism to the grave, ID proponents will often quote evolutionary biologists attacking an entirely different kind of Darwinism, the kind of Darwinism evolutionary biologists understand to be the position that everything, or the vast majority of the properties of biological organisms are there for adaptive reasons.

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  39. Rumraket: But in their rush to consign Darwinism to the grave, ID proponents will often quote evolutionary biologists attacking an entirely different kind of Darwinism, the kind of Darwinism evolutionary biologists understand to be the position that everything, or the vast majority of the properties of biological organisms are there for adaptive reasons.

    It is JS at PS who attempts to consign Darwinism to the grave. I’m just trying to understand why he’s not working with the DI. And it appears there are now species of Darwinism.

    Ruse distinguishes between Darwinian evolutionary theory and Darwinism, the former being science and the latter being religion. I think that’s a useful distinction but it’s not likely that anyone will follow him, neither those who deny that there is any Darwinian evolutionary theory any longer nor those who treat Darwinism as a religion.

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  40. Allan Miller: Fun fact: Wallace wrote a book called Darwinism, if that hasn’t been mentioned already.

    Apparently he had malaria when he developed his theory of natural selection. Not sure what Darwin’s excuse is.

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  41. The bird wing is the same but different as the forelimb of a mole: birds modified the tetrapod limb in an adaptation to flight, whereas moles modified the tetrapod limb in an adaptation to burrowing.

    Teleological language much?

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