Discovery Institute: Going Cosmic?

AN ODD editorial appears in the Indiatimes, from one of India’s largest media companies: Design argument and beyond. It says:

One of the core arguments of Intelligent Design is that the fundamental constants of physics and chemistry are just right or fine-tuned to allow the universe and life as we know it to exist. They are precisely the values needed to have a universe capable of producing life.

This is a re-hashing of the anthropic principle (which has several variants), but the editorial writer arbitrarily applies it to Intelligent Design (ID). This is seldom done, because the anthropic principle has only the most tenuous connection to ID. In fact, other than being an untestable conjecture, there is really no connection at all.

The proponents of ID usually claim that it’s a biological “theory” which “explains” certain biological phenomena. We might have missed it, but we’ve never seen them mention the anthropic principle, or claim that ID is the answer to the whole universe. Of course, in their more private moments — when they’re free to admit their religious motivations — they’re probably pleased to attribute everything to a Designer. But in public they pretend to be advocates of a scientific alternative to the theory of evolution, and they restrict ID to biology.

Nevertheless, the neo-theocrats at the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture (a/k/a the Discoveroids) may be breaking out of their niche. In their latest blog article, Argument for Design Is International: India’s Economic Times Columnist Considers the Cosmology, they appear to latch onto that editorial in Indiatimes as if it were some kind of scientific breakthrough supporting their creationist public relations efforts. Excerpt:

What many people observing the debate over intelligent design and evolution don’t get is that intelligent design is not merely an American phenomenon. As the debate continues in every corner of the globe, design proves to be an interesting and legitimately explorable scientific concept.

There’s not much more to the Discoveroid article than calling attention to the editorial from India, which is hardly a grand confirmation of ID. In fact, the Discoveroids have done nothing more than pointing out that they’re not alone. This is rather thin stew for someone looking for evidence that ID has any scientific value.

Nice try, Discoveroids. But you’ve struck out once again.

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5 responses to “Discovery Institute: Going Cosmic?

  1. In a similar vein, it can be argued that potholes are evidence of an Intelligent Pot-hole Designer — pot holes-are always the EXACT perfect size and shape to perfectly contain the mud-puddles that form within them when it rains.

    What are the odds of random chance doing that?

  2. forgot the

    notation at the end of the previous post.

  3. ooops,

    this is what I left out:

    [ /anti-evo lunatic mode]

  4. Actually, the Designer made the world for the convenience of the dung beetle.

  5. Actually, and contrary to modern and “variant interpretations”, the Anthropic Principle was originally formalized by Brandon Carter as an ideological statement against the dogmatic non-scientific prejudices that scientists commonly harbor, that cause them to consciously deny anthropic relevance in the physics, so they instead tend to be willfully ignorant of just enough pertinent facts, (like you guys are), to maintain an irrational cosmological bias that leads to absurd, “Copernican-like” projections of mediocrity that contradict what is actually observed.

    However unfortunate, Carter’s point lends a certain amount of real scientific credence to the claims of Ben Stein, and the IDists, that scientists willfully suppress credible evidence that they wrongly perceive to be in support of the creationist’s position. It is just as unfortunate that this makes the lies and embellishments of the ID movement into a necessary evil, to counterbalance to the unscientific dogma that scientists commonly project into science.

    Carter was talking about an equally extreme form of counter-reaction-ism to old historical beliefs about geocentricism that cause scientists to automatically dismiss evidence for anthropic “privilege” right out of the realm of the observed reality.

    longshadow said:
    “In a similar vein, it can be argued that potholes are evidence of an Intelligent Pot-hole Designer — pot holes-are always the EXACT perfect size and shape to perfectly contain the mud-puddles that form within them when it rains.”

    Wow, yet another Douglas Adams, wanna-be, but I hate to tell you… that lame ill-considered analogy doesn’t fly. Do you know why?… I didn’ think so… and how convenient is that?

    “The Curmudgeon said:
    “We might have missed it, but we’ve never seen them mention the anthropic principle, or claim that ID is the answer to the whole universe.”

    I guess that you’ve never heard of Guillermo Gonzalez or the Privileged Planet either, so is there anything about the ID debate that you do know?… other than the same old lame rationale that doesn’t amount to a pile of beetle dung?

    And just an FYI, but the physics is about all carbon based life, including beetles, not just humans, but hey… what’s one more misleading statement in a sea of weak attempts to downplay the observation.

    And just what is it about the AP that you think isn’t falsifiable?… Do you think that finding life currently living on Mars would not be a falsification?… *whew!*

    Were I a IDist, (which I am not), I’d put the atheists physicist, Leonard Susskind on the witness stand and let him explain this, because his authoritative opinion as a scientist would certainly put a monkey wrench in the gears of rabid antifanatics:

    From New Scientist concerning Lenny’s recent book, “The Cosmic Landscape: String theory and the illusion of intelligent design”.

    Amanda Gefter asked him:
    “If we do not accept the landscape idea are we stuck with intelligent design?”

    Leonard Susskind:
    “I doubt that physicists will see it that way. If, for some unforeseen reason, the landscape turns out to be inconsistent – maybe for mathematical reasons, or because it disagrees with observation – I am pretty sure that physicists will go on searching for natural explanations of the world. But I have to say that if that happens, as things stand now we will be in a very awkward position. Without any explanation of nature’s fine-tunings we will be hard pressed to answer the ID critics.”

    Let the denial begin…