This is definitely one of the oddest posts from 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).
It’s titled Intelligent Design in Action: Archaeology. With a title like that, you might assume that the magical mystery designer, who is allegedly responsible for cramming “information” into our DNA, has been caught in the act of chipping arrowheads and other artifacts. Well, you’re going to be disappointed. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:
Archaeology is the study of artifacts that have been designed for a purpose. Our uniform experience of intelligent causes allows us to make inferences about design, even without knowing the identity of the designers. Since ID principles are used in archaeology as they are in various other sciences, what’s the problem with applying the theory in biology?
What’s the problem? In archaeology, we know that humans crafted the artifacts. In biology, we know that’s not the case. Biological features are the product of evolution, or — according to the Discoveroids’ “theory” — they’re the work of an unseen, unknown celestial entity from outside the universe — or somewhere. The idea of such an agency is utterly alien to archaeology. That’s the problem. The Discoveroids should know that, but apparently they don’t. Their sad little blog entry continues:
New intelligently designed research tools are allowing researchers to ask questions about human intelligent action in the context of past civilizations, questions that were not even thinkable before. For instance, consider a cuneiform inscription on a clay tablet. The focus has usually been on deciphering the message, but now, through X-ray imaging, scientists can study the technology that ancient people used to create the tablet itself.
That’s nice. But again, we’re confident that the tablet was made by humans. The new “intelligently designed research tools” are telling us how they made the tablet. Do the Discoveroids somehow know that their magic designer ever did anything? And do they have any analogous tools to tell us how their designer accomplished his miraculous tasks? No, of course they don’t. Let’s read on:
A digital database of archaeological artifacts can thus be made available to researchers around the world — a huge improvement over storage in warehouses. Speaking of warehouses, the university has intelligently designed that, too.
Right –some people made a database and a warehouse. And that tells us what? That the magic celestial designer created the flagellum? See what we mean? This is one of the Discoveroids’ lamest blog articles ever. It continues:
Several aspects of this upbeat story are interesting. First, obviously, is the demonstration that intelligent design is already being used in science.
This is beyond ridiculous. It’s absolutely tragic. Here’s more:
Contrary to what critics of ID in the media and academia may say, ID is not some foreign intrusion that certain people with an “agenda” are trying to sneak into science. It’s already there — in archaeology but also in forensics, cryptography, biomimetics and SETI.
Yes, it’s here, in the limited sense of skilled human craftsmanship. But the Discoveroids’ magic designer is something else entirely, and he’s still nowhere. Moving along:
The debate is not whether the methods and inferences of ID are legitimate, but whether the same methods and inferences are applicable in biology and cosmology.
Aha! They have a dim perception of their problem. Is ID applicable to biology? Here’s their answer:
Well, why not? In the press release [about the archaeology research, Dr. Neal Ferris] noted circular patterns in a piece of pottery. From these he was able to infer the technique the designer used — even the specific decisions the designer made.
And the Discoveroid researchers have done the same thing with our DNA, right? Well, no, they’ve done nothing of the kind. On with the article:
Dr. Ferris was able to make such a statement about design decisions without knowing anything about the identity of the designer or that person’s religion.
Whoppie! Later on they say:
In short, ID is alive and comfortably at home in science; it’s at the cutting edge of new discoveries.
Yes, but not in the Discoveroids’ fantasy science — which has never made any discoveries at all. At the end they offer what they imagine to be a brilliant question. See what you make of it:
Follow-up thought experiment: If the Earth and Planetary Science team scanned a meteorite and found a message or a molecular machine performing a recognizable function, would they be justified in making a design inference?
Sorry, Discoveroids. To formulate a relevant thought experiment, one must be able to think.
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