Everyone knows that the “theory” of intelligent design promoted 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) is a colossal joke.
Their magical designer is not only unseen and unknown, but his alleged handiwork is detectable only to those with the special gift of spiritual insight — nourished by a stipend from the Discoveroids. There’s also the uncomfortable fact that intelligent design “theorists” admit that The Designer Can Be Sloppy and that their “theory” Tolerates Bad Design.
In Discovery Institute: Intelligent Design Redefined we provided the Discoveroids’ “official” definition of their theory, followed by our own definition. We’ve also discussed the total absence of any evidence for intelligent design (see Intelligent Designer or Zeus?).
Nevertheless, the plucky Discoveroids keep trying. Today at their blog they’ve posted Responding to the Challenge that Intelligent Design Lacks a “Mechanism”. It’s by Casey Luskin, our favorite creationist. At last, he’s going to reveal the mechanism that lies at the heart of their theory.
After discussing the research we wrote about yesterday, regarding “a method for repeatedly encoding, storing and erasing digital data within the DNA of living cells,” (see Design, Design, Design!), Casey says, with bold font added by us:
Last month I spoke at the University of Arkansas, and during the Q&A, a skeptic complained that ID theory lacks a “mechanism.”
Good question. Here’s Casey’s response:
I explained that intelligent agency itself functions in that role, serving as a known cause / mechanism which produces high levels of complex and specified information.
BWAHAHAHAHAHA! For some reason, the questioner wasn’t dazzled by Casey’s answer. Let’s read on:
But the skeptic wasn’t satisfied. He insisted what ID lacks is a mechanism that, at the direction of an intelligent agent, could be capable of instantiating information, or design, in the real world.
Well, how does the designer — blessed be he! — do whatever it is that he does? Casey continues:
As we spoke after the talk, I asked him, “Why should it be so hard to believe that intelligent agents can implement their designs in the real world? After all, we see intelligent agents manipulating the information in DNA all the time.”
A month ago, Casey didn’t know about the research we discussed yesterday, so what was he talking about? Anyway, here’s more:
As the skeptic was a philosopher, he was apparently unaware of the burgeoning field of genetic engineering, where biologists manipulate the information in DNA to produce new biological functions. Unfortunately, this hardened ID critic was probably still not convinced after I explained that it’s easy to believe intelligent agents might have ways of implementing their designs in the natural world — since we see it happening, reported in the scientific literature on a regular basis.
Jeepers! Even after Casey explained that “intelligent agents might have ways,” that silly skeptic still didn’t get it. Well, whatcha gonna do? Some people are just hard to convince. Casey concludes with this:
This new research discussed in Nature News shows exactly how intelligent agents can manipulate information in DNA to create new structures. There is no reason in principle why an intelligent agency must lack a mechanism for implementing designs in the natural world.
So there you are. You want to know the designer’s mechanism? No problem. The answer is: There’s no reason why he would lack one. Now you know.
See also: The Mechanism of Intelligent Design, Part 2.
Copyright © 2012. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.
“There is no reason in principle why an intelligent agency must lack a mechanism for implementing designs in the natural world. ”
Face. Palm. Head. Desk
Wow. I can’t do it – I cannot lampoon this – it’s THAT stupid.
Hats off to Casey, he’s really outdone himself this time.
Intelligent Design is completely unfalsifiable and untestable, because the ‘designer’, if he/she/it has no limits, can produce any outcome, and if limited, our predictions are limited by a lack of knowledge of those limits.
Casey Lusken hedges, “Why should it be so hard to believe that intelligent agents can implement their designs in the real world? After all, we see intelligent agents manipulating the information in DNA all the time.”
He’s probably referring to lab technicians inserting pieces of one species’s
DNA into the DNA of another species.
Now, Casey, THAT is a mechanism. Are you saying that the glorious Intelligent Designer has a secret lab somewhere and is actually performing the same mechanical process? Now there’s some research that the Discovery Institute could be doing! Get out there and “Discover” the location of that lab! Actually, since there are so many species and they are so widely distributed, there must be multitudes of Intelligent Design labs, staffed by multitudes of Intelligent Designers. Since there are probably so many labs, it should be pretty easy to find just one of them.
Oh, I’m sorry, Casey. Is it blasphemy for me to suggest there may be more than one Intelligent Designer? Why should that be a problem? After all, you keep insisting that Intelligent Design is not a religion or even a religious idea, so why should it be hard for you to accept multiple Designers? Can you give be one cogent reason for believing there is just one?
People get sick all the time naturally. Therefore, it is completely plausible that demons have ways of making people sick, too. Furthermore, by measuring the functional specified complexity of the illness we can distinguish between natural illness and demonic illness.
No, it’s twue!
“Is it blasphemy for me to suggest there may be more than one Intelligent Designer?”
Mark Twain wrote a piece about a race of superior beings and, for youthful sport, an impetuous, sadistic child created Earth and dallied with humans for amusement. I can’t remember the name of the story, but it was assigned reading in high school (incredibly, that was in Arizona) and made an impression on me, as good, thought-provoking literature should. I wonder if it’s still on any high school reading lists these days?
Yes, I’m so glad that every type of supernatural, superstitious, metaphysical phenomenon ever known to man – and some waiting to be contrived – are being unleashed as explanations in lieu of those false claims of science, with its unfeasible facts. We can’t have enough stress and uncertainty if we’re to relive the dark ages.
I should have written “rational claims of science” above.
Donna, Stephen King revisited that exact theme of Twain’s in “The Dome” right down to the sadistic, alien children.
Curmudgeon: “For some reason, the questioner wasn’t dazzled by Casey’s answer.”
That “some reason” is that if Casey tried that stunt as a witness at a trial where a (human) “desinger” was accused of a crime, he’s be held in contempt of court. But here’s the real eye-opener: If Casey really thought that independent evidence supported any of the mutually contradictory “what did the designer do, when and how” scenarios claimed to be “the” literal interpretation of Genesis, he’d be yakking nonstop about it. With no interest in wasting time on the long-refuted “weaknesses” of “Darwinism.”
What’s bizarre is that Casey apparently believes that he actually answered the question.
Good grief, RBH, your comment got snarled in the spam-catcher. I donno how that happened.
Dammit. I have that cartoon — a portion of it, to avoid copyright violation as you have — in a draft post. Now I’ll look like a copy-curmudgeon.
(But I did link to it from my comment that was long at the top of the Google sidewiki at Uncommon Descent: “All who oppose IDC, be they theistic, non-theistic, anti-theistic, deistic, or agnostic, agree that scientific explanations cannot include the famous “then a miracle occurs” step — even those who believe that miracles really do occur. And a claim that an invisible, immaterial entity has created something physical with evident purpose is indeed a claim of a miracle.” http://boundedtheoretics.blogspot.com/2009/10/bad-theology-and-bad-science.html .)
@Donna: “Mark Twain wrote a piece about a race of superior beings and, for youthful sport, an impetuous, sadistic child created Earth and dallied with humans for amusement. I can’t remember the name of the story, but it was assigned reading in high school (incredibly, that was in Arizona) and made an impression on me, as good, thought-provoking literature should. I wonder if it’s still on any high school reading lists these days?”
Probably not. Mark Twain is under assault from various directions these days, and not just from the fundies.
From your description it sounds like it could be The Mysterious Stranger:
“We see birds fly everyday.” Casey said, flapped his upper extremities and lifted off.
Or perhaps Letters From the Earth:
You say you want to know the mechanism of ID? Well, ID is very scientific. The IDer’s mechanism is “ways”.The IDer has “ways” we can never understand. Case closed. Next question.
Ooops. Last comment was mine.
I don’t know if this will happen for everyone, but when I started typing “Casey Luskin” into Google, it automatically appended “is an idiot” as the first suggested complete phrase.
Can you imagine what it would be like to type your name into a search engine and find that as the most probable choice for a search?
I could not find an independent account of the talk at the University of Arkansas, where he was invited by a campus religious organization. The only story I could find was from the same sort of meeting in 2010, which one skeptic blogged about and stated that he counted 54 attendees, 9 of whom were his skeptic friends, and that they had to sit through a showing of the movie “Expelled”. Hopefully someone who was there this year will post a description of the Q&A that is a little more complete than Casey’s.
As usual, Casey was making his case to a religious student organization. Also as usual, in his blog article, no mention of the religious affiliation of his host was made, or the fact that they are interested in ID as a means of apologetics. However, the site includes this description of the event, http://www.discovery.org/e/3031 and clicking on the host link tells you everything you need to know.
Regarding multiple designers, the major Indian philosopher, Ramanuja (lived about the year 1100), in his critique of the argument from design pointed out that the argument did not rule out multiple designers. See page 132 in:
C. Mackenzie Brown, “The Design Argument in Classical Hindu Thought”, International Journal of Hindu Studies, vol. 12 no. 2 (2008), pages 103-151, doi: 10.1007/s11407-008-9058-8
Dear curmudgeon, I made a mistake in my above post by “selecting all” from a Word document, and wonder if you could remove it? I will then re-post the information which I wrote for this post, not all the other stuff. Embarrassedly, Donna
Donna asks: “wonder if you could remove it?”
Get a load of this – practically every word is a flat-out lie (thanks, Ed, for providing link):
“Casey Luskin will demonstrate how scientists detect design using the scientific method, using examples from some recent peer-reviewed research papers that support ID arguments. ”
Demonstrate? And the rest of the bunk? Have they now muddied the water regarding peer reviewed papers, as they have school accreditation, etc? Their sneaky, lying, stealth tactics are undermining what we can genuinely believe with regard to those institutions whose authority and preeminence help us make decisions. I don’t want the inevitable anarchy resulting from confusion over time-honored secular standards, much less their replacement with religion.
I want one set of standards that I can trust – I don’t welcome the extra time involved to investigate and make choices based on an increasingly complex, factored sliding scales of standards, such as is foreseeable regarding education*. If too many choices, aka confusion, exists over such institutions as accreditation agencies, or even institutionalized concepts as peer review journals, then what is the point? – and that is the point of this stealthy, cunning undermining and undercutting of the civilized culture we currently know.
In a similar vein, I have no problem deferring to experts. My ego isn’t bruised since I don’t obsessively judge myself against other people, but instead appreciate the service that experts perform for us all – that goes for expert scientists, expert chefs, expert linguists, expert plumbers, the list goes on. We owe the fact of civilization on experts; moreover, most of us are endowed with an area of expertise. So what is the problem? I think we’re all aware that “expert” really means “elitist” to the bashers. That word, which expresses a subjective hierarchy only, not to mention envy, is always more telling of the subject slinging the charges instead of the objects at which they’re leveled.
I’m also glad to say that I have more going on than the paranoid, psychotic need to control each and every bit of minutia affecting my life, and hey – everyone else’s, to boot! But then, I don’t have an agenda obsessed with taking over this country, and ultimately the world. It sounds so crazy to even say such things, but what else can account for what’s going on? Why does the real need to protect the ideals of the Enlightenment exist at present? Besides, some religious organizations freely admit that worldwide domination is their goal.
For the first time in my life, I realize with full force the adage that maintaining the freedom that we often take for granted is a constant struggle. Unfortunately, the fightin’ religious extremists have already co-opted and perverted that assertion; I wouldn’t doubt that the current emphasis on our revolutionary forefathers is not only being used to propagandize the religious basis of the US (and The Constitution), but to suggest to their “warriors” that an outright militarized revolution is necessary for their cause.
By the way, are we supposed to believe that they would be satisfied if they did manage to take over? “They” is composed of many factions only temporarily working together – that Baptist preacher blessing Rick Santorum’s candidacy is a notable and amusing example that springs to mind.
*Some private schools, not to mention home-schools, are not accredited. How can that be? – it seems criminal. It isn’t, necessarily, when you realize that states have different laws governing length of mandatory public education. Lack of proper** accreditation should be illegal for those mandated grades at least, no matter where classes are held, but apparently no such measures exist.
So, the real legal question (which I feel is unfortunate for young victims of arcane and varied laws) only applies to grades for which enrollment is mandated by the state. When I attended school in Arizona, children could quit after 8th grade, and a really weird Mormon sect/cult in town removed their kids from the system as soon as legally possible. Incidentally, those kids were not allowed to fraternize with their schoolmates, either, but I digress. Theoretically, after 8th grade those kids could have attended purely unaccredited “schools”. Thus, as a result of what I call alternative education or neo-ed, colleges must now scrutinize applicants’ secondary school credits and expect nuisance law suits based on discrimination, as has occurred already in California.
**And we’re back to the problem of what “proper accreditation” means.
Wow, I’ve written a tome. Wish I’d been able to approach college term papers as prodigiously.
I can haz rong, ronger and rongest!
As a young earth creationist opponent I thought creationists were just misinformed and education and clarification is what they needed. I was rong. They didn’t want to know.
As a middle earth creationist opponent I thought creationists could be accommodated, non-overlaping magisterial and all that. I was ronger. They didn’t want to accommodate; they wanted their way or the highway.
As an old earth creationist opponent I thought creationists could be defeated in court and run out of town. I was rongest. As we found out during Kitzmiller, evolution was only one prong of the attack. Once evolution was knocked down it was prayer in school, historical revisionism and ultimately establishment of a theocracy.
The Texas SBOE found out that giving an inch to creationists only encouraged them to take a mile. There is, in fact, no end to “their” demands and never will be. The Persecuted People need to be persecuted and if nobody persecutes them they have no reason to exist, therefore in the words of the great philosopher Rossana Rossanadanna, if it ain’t somthing it’s something else.
As they say, “You can’t reason someone out of a position they didn’t reason themselves into.”
I know exactly what you mean. I feel totally, I mean tahhhtullayyy, uncomfortable with perceiving so much in a conspiratorial light, – like I’m the conspirator. But, tangible evidence of a concerted effort is right under our noses and has seeped into areas that I least expected (or thought I could trust). I arrived at these beliefs much more belatedly than many of you on this blog so I’m probably sounding off on topics that have long since been discussed, so I appreciate everone’s indulgence for my long rants, ie above.
Doc, please write a screenplay based on a show-down between the conniving “science” or self-described intellects (elites, haha) side of creationism/ID and the ruthless Rev. Wells-type religious faction. This is off-topic but I watched that entire LA legislature hearing to see Wells, after you posted about him. I agree with your comments and noticed his show of impatience (probably anger) disguised as good ole boy comiseration with the committee that they should have to entertain due process. I grew up around those types and recognize them instantly. Shudder!
Donna: “I wouldn’t doubt that the current emphasis on our revolutionary forefathers is not only being used to propagandize the religious basis of the US (and The Constitution), but to suggest to their “warriors” that an outright militarized revolution is necessary for their cause.”
From a new Oklahoma Republican video: “I’m a bona fide Republican… because I believe the Second Amendment protects the First.” Sally Kern (gay-bashing sponsor of anti-science legislation) is at the beginning and end of a montage, “The Republican Party best adheres to the values of… God, family, … freedom, … and the sanctity of marriage.”
Happened to me too. Wow, that’s got to be tough on the ego.
@Google: “Casey Lusken is an idiot”.
Ol’ Casey’s probably planning his lawsuit vs. Google right now, thus defeating his case before filing by proving Google is correct.
(For the record, “Casey Lusken is an idiot” came up as the fourth suggestion when I Got to “Casey Lus-“.)
Thanks for the link. The comments about the video are hilarious. I know it’s either laugh or cry.