Once again we are dazzled by the neo-theocrats at the Discovery Institute‘s creationist public relations and lobbying operation, the Center for Science and Culture (a/k/a the Discoveroids, a/k/a the cdesign proponentsists).
Yesterday we posted Discovery Institute: What Are They Thinking? We pointed out that the Discoveroids were seriously praising what was obviously a spoof of their central dogma that the world — the whole universe, really — was specifically designed for us. At the end of our post we said:
What’s their next move — promoting William Paley’s watchmaker analogy? Why not? If they can unknowingly make fun of one of their core arguments, why not the other too?
Little did we dream that they were about to do exactly that. Today at the Discoveroids’ blog they’ve dropped the other shoe and posted Revisiting the Positive Case for Intelligent Design. There’s no byline, but it’s obviously by Casey Luskin, our favorite creationist. Casey says, with bold font added by us:
Recently I’ve had two encouraging discussions about the positive case for design. The first took place at the recent conference at Wheaton College where one of the speakers called intelligent design a “God of the gaps” argument. He didn’t intend that as a criticism, but afterwards we got into a friendly discussion about how ID is not a “gaps-based” argument after all, since there is a positive case for design that doesn’t depend on negating evolution, or pointing out a “gap” in our knowledge.
There’s a positive case for ID? Really? We’ve seen Casey expound before on what he imagines that to be. See Intelligent Designer or Zeus? In that post we discussed Casey’s long list of “facts” that he claims support ID. But as we pointed out, his facts (e.g., the origin of the fine-tuning of the cosmos for advanced life) could also support the belief that Zeus is responsible for Casey’s allegedly unexplained phenomena. Indeed, Casey’s list of facts supporting ID is literally nothing more than a god of the gaps argument.
But today, Casey says he’s got more than that to support ID. Okay, we’re always open-minded. Let’s see what he has to offer:
[T]he argument for intelligent design is not a mere critique of evolution. Logically, we don’t establish intelligent design merely by negating evolution. After all, evidence against one theory is not necessarily evidence for another theory. Rather, to infer design, we have to make a positive case for it.
Okay, we’re all waiting for the positive case. Let’s read on:
Intelligent design is a scientific theory that holds some aspects of life and the universe are best explained by reference to an intelligent cause. Why? Because they contain the type of complexity and information that in our experience comes only from intelligence.
There it is — William Paley’s watchmaker analogy. If something looks designed, then by golly it is designed. That’s all there is to it. Case closed! We continue:
As a result, intelligent-design theorists begin by studying how intelligent agents act when they design things. Intelligence is a process, or a mechanism, which we can observe at work in the world around us. Human designers make a great dataset for studying how intelligent agency works.
Yes! When we see a cobbler working on a shoe (or a watchmaker working on a watch) that’s a great example of how the magical designer works on our DNA. It’s so obvious! Then he quotes William Dembski and Stephen Meyer — exalted gurus of the ID movement, and concludes:
Thus, in our experience, high levels of complex and specified information — such as in codes and languages — arise only from intelligence. By assessing whether natural structures contain the type of complexity — high CSI — that in our experience comes only from intelligence, we can construct a positive, testable case for design.
Right — a positive, testable case. And what might those tests be? Do the Discoveroids ever test their “theory”? How can the undetected meddling of their magical designer ever be tested? How can the “theory” that their designer’s activities plug all the gaps in our knowledge ever be falsified? Whenever a natural explanation is demonstrated, they swiftly dismiss it as a “just so” story and continue to cling to their “theory.” They never seem to grasp that if a natural explanation is possible, even if it’s not necessarily the precise way something happened, the need for a magical designer is disproved.
So for what it’s worth, that’s the positive, testable case for ID. In support of their “theory,” the Discoveroids offer not only the incoherent thoughts of Douglas Adams’ puddle, but also Paley’s long-discredited watchmaker analogy. (Discredited? Yes. See David Hume’s rebuttal.)
In other words, by their own admission, the Discoveroids have nothing. Nothing at all.
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