Curmudgeon’s Creative Challenge #7

We haven’t had one of these for almost a year. It’s time to get your creative juices flowing.

To remind you of all the intellectual thrills we’ve provided in the past, our earlier contests were: #1 (Creationism is to evolution as _____ is to _______), followed by #2 (The typical Discoveroid’s next job will be _______), and then #3 (The Discoveroids are the dregs of _____), and then #4 (The creationists’ biggest lie is _____), and then #5 (Can _____ be defended using only scientific terms?), and most recently #6 (What shall we call a creationist toilet camera?).

Today’s contest was inspired by the Discovery Institute — described in the Cast of Characters section of our Intro page. You know all about their wondrous theory, described here: Intelligent Design Redefined.

The best arguments the Discoveroids have are two oldie goldies, long known to be fallacious. One is a god of the gaps argument. The other is William Paley’s watchmaker analogy — which was popular in the days before Darwin. But those arguments can also be invoked to make an equally strong case for Zeus, Odin, or any other supernatural entity.

The Discoveroids’ magical, mystical designer — blessed be he! — has everything going for him except one little thing. There’s not a scrap of verifiable evidence to support his existence. That’s where they need our help.

Therefore, this is your challenge, dear reader:

Credible evidence for the intelligent designer’s existence would be: _________.

You know the rules: You may enter the contest as many times as you wish, but you must avoid profanity, vulgarity, childish anatomical analogies, etc. Also, avoid slanderous statements about individuals. Feel free to comment on the entries submitted by others — with praise, criticism, or whatever — but you must do so tastefully. That’s the really challenging part of these contests — being tasteful.

Your Curmudgeon will decide if there’s a winner, and whenever we get around to it we’ll announce who the winner is. There is no tangible prize — as always in life’s great challenges, the accomplishment is its own reward. We now throw open the comments section, dear reader. Go for it!

Copyright © 2013. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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47 responses to “Curmudgeon’s Creative Challenge #7

  1. Charles Deetz ;)

    How about use of triangle structures. Triangles are the strongest shape, so the ID certainly must have used triangles to make bones, exoskeletons, plant stems, etc. Can I claim an exception of teeth, their full shape isn’t really a triangle.

  2. “Credible evidence for the intelligent designer’s existence would be: _________.”

    …the stars rearranging themselves in the sky to spell out His/Her/Its name. I’d really be convinced if they then started blinking.

    Hey, why not? If it’s so important that we all believe, He/She/It, being omnipotent, could make it happen. It would also make me soil my pants, but it would certainly make me a believer.

  3. BTW, have a nice Thanksgiving, all. Hope you are all surrounded by good friends and family.

  4. You too, SciGuy, and all the other regulars here.

  5. I was all for this until I read the rules. I’m not sure I’m creative enough to obey them!

  6. Real response: A knock on the door by said designer, toting blueprints, tools, and the technology that allowed the designer to survive for billions of years, manipulating billions of genes, with complete foreknowledge of how those changes would propagate through the populations resulting in the diversity of life around us.

    Snark response: discovering the blueprints to a wormhole generating spaceship while decoding the DNA of a tunicate.

  7. OK, I’ll play. Noting that you asked for evidence, not proof, and that it’s evidence for a designer, not for a god…

    “Credible evidence for the intelligent designer’s existence would be:”
    … a terrestrial organism that could not possibly have been derived from any other known terrestrial organism, living or extinct. For example:

    * an organism that uses a radically different genetic code;
    * an organism that doesn’t have DNA at all;
    * a tetrapod that has three pairs of limbs;
    * an organism that is a fusion of two widely separate evolutionary lines, such as a centaur or a mermaid.

    (I’ll leave it to your judgement whether this is one entry or four 🙂 )

  8. Credible evidence for the intelligent designer’s existence would be: A patent number and copyright notice unambiguously encoded in the DNA of many different organisms.

    Alternatively, the Discorrhoids coming to their senses.

    Or failing that, a large anonymous cash deposit labelled “Royalties” into my bank account.

  9. Credible evidence for the intelligent designer’s existence would be credible evidence for the existence of the Meta-Intelligent Designer who made the Intelligent Designer; which in turn would be the credible evidence for the existence of the Meta-Meta-Intelligent Designer who made the Meta-Intelligent Designer, which in turn would be the credible evidence for the existence of the Meta-Meta-Meta-Intelligent Designer who made the Meta-Meta-Intelligent Designer—ad infininauseaum &c &c

  10. Somehow, even though the word does not actually exist, I have nonetheless managed to misspell it; I suppose infinauseum would be more ‘correct’?

  11. Hmm, how about “ad nausefinitum”, i.e. beyond the point where you run out of nausea?

  12. Anything in nature that looks like it was designed by something intelligent.

  13. The following message appears in everyone’s visual field:

    “Free trial period comes to an end in 30 days. To continue, please deposit the following amounts of gold or equivalent currency in Tycho crater…”

  14. Credible evidence for the intelligent designer’s existence would be an appearance by the Intelligent Designer Him/Her/It Self on Oprah, full of contrition over design blunders like genetic defects, predation, diseases, and mortality in general, and bearing the Magic Wand of Oogity-Boogity with which to correct those errors.

  15. Con-Tester suggests

    the Discorrhoids coming to their senses

    That would indeed seem miraculous–but would not be unambiguous evidence. The power of empirical reality is capable of dramatic results, though I grant that in your example reality has hitherto been consistently defeated.

  16. Myself, I don’t so much deny the existence of intelligent designers, but question whether their existence accounts for features in the world of life in a way that excludes common descent with modification by natural processes. Or any other scientific explanation for natural phenomena.

  17. …found by someone other than intelligent design proponents because they aren’t actually looking for it, despite their claims.

  18. or …later found to be a hoax perpetrated by someone who thought we needed more Jeezus in the classroom.

  19. or …hilarious if the intelligent designer ended up being Thor or Zeus, if only to hear the fundies’ linguistic, semantic, philosophic, and theological arguments for why they had been right all along.

  20. Ceteris Paribus

    An really intelligently designed banana. Which would have allowed Kirk Cameron and Ray Comfort to demonstrate how to peel one without spoiling the trick by showing their evolved opposeable thumbs on camera.

  21. Credible evidence for the [or “an”] intelligent designer’s existence would be credible evidence of free will.

    Most of us believe that free will exists, but is there actually testable evidence? Not really, and I think that’s the ultimate mystery in all of nature. ID peddlers whine that real scientists categorically rule out anything but natural phenomena. But if I want to analyze the motion of my 2 fingers typing (yes, I’m that old) all I find is chance and regularity – motions of molecules, electrons, etc. Oh, I can speculate that God or the FSM might intervene undetected via quantum indeterminacy (Ken Miller’s idea), or maybe delegate free will to me, but there’s absolutely nothing I can do with that (and Miller undoubtedly agrees). So whether you start with “a designer exists,” “does not exist” or “I don’t know either way” and follow the evidence for the history and diversity of life, you wind up in the same exact place – evolution.

    The very fact that anti-evolutionists pretend to find the designer in “gaps” ought to have the great majority (all but the most hopelessly paranoid fundamentalists) crying foul. Unfortunately most people simply don’t notice the bait-and-switch. If that isn’t bad enough, skilled anti-evolution activists have learned not to address the real gaps (e.g. quantum indeterminacy), but seek and fabricate the ones that have been filled, yet still push people’s buttons (e.g. Cambrian, first flagellum).

  22. Credible evidence for the intelligent designer’s existence would be: a definitive statement detailing what the “purpose” of the design was.

  23. The question I always ask is:

    “Credible evidence for one of the mutually-contradictory ‘literal Genesis’ origins accounts, which does not rely on unfalsifiable ‘design’ arguments or long-discredited alleged ‘weaknesses’ of existing explanations, would be:_____”

  24. Credible evidence for an Intelligent Designer would actually be a crocoduck or a dog giving birth to a cat – both without human intervention.

  25. @wolfwalker

    * a tetrapod that has three pairs of limbs;

    If it had six limbs it wouldn’t be called a tetrapod, would it?

  26. Credible evidence for the intelligent designer’s existence would be: A live turduken.

    (I’ve only ever seen dead ones, you see.)

  27. Timothy Norfolk

    Some very precise but large-scale simtings.

  28. Most of you are failing to come to grips with the fundamental issue that this seemingly amusing challenge actually presents. Credible evidence for the intelligent designer must be: (a) more than pointing to gaps in the evidence for evolution; and (b) more than making lame analogies to human design activity. That’s all the Discoveroids have, and it’s nothing.

    What’s required is analogous to producing evidence for Bigfoot or the Abominable Snowman, but on a grander scale. Legends and unverifiable anecdotes are easily dismissed. You need an actual Bigfoot — alive or dead. Failing that, you need genuinely unambiguous evidence of his existence — whatever that might be.

    For something as powerful as the designer, re-arrangement of the stars has been suggested. That’s on track. Personally, I’d be persuaded if the stars assumed a checkerboard pattern for a while, and then went back to “normal.” The Discoveroids don’t even have the beginnings of a serious research program.

  29. Well, lemme see. The Discoveroids could get a Tibetan computer to count all the niine billion names of God; and if the stars then started going out, one by one . . .

    Oh, somebody thought of that before?

  30. …finding its, or their, laboratory.

  31. Okay, I thought this thing was tongue-in-cheek.

    How about this: A single gene showing a non-evolutionary origin/heritage from among the many genomes found in nature (i.e., not transgenics) that have already been sequenced. There must be no homology (defined as 20% protein identity over more than 100 amino acids) for other genes, and no alternative/prior function may exist for the proposed gene; it must have a specific and unique function.

  32. Credible evidence for the intelligent designer’s existence would be

    …as impossible as Olivia taking a fancy to our Curmudgeon.

  33. Credible evidence for the intelligent designer is the thermos bottle.
    Why? It keeps hot things hot and cold things cold. How does it know ?
    Therefore God..

  34. Geophyswiz gets my vote . . . of the candidates so far, anyway.

  35. Megalonyx dares to offer: “…as impossible as Olivia taking a fancy to our Curmudgeon.”

    I know one contestant who is unlikely to be awarded the prize.

  36. @Realthog: “If it had six limbs it wouldn’t be called a tetrapod, would it?”

    “Tetrapod” used in the taxonomic sense. If you prefer you can substitute “land-dwelling vertebrate.” Snakes don’t have any limbs at all, but they’re still taxonomically tetrapods. The basic tetrapod bauplan has two pairs of limbs. Tetrapods are known with two, one, or no pairs of limbs, but no tetrapod has ever had three pairs. I don’t believe the tetrapod body could support three pairs of limbs.

    Curmudgeon: “Personally, I’d be persuaded if the stars assumed a checkerboard pattern for a while, and then went back to “normal.” ”

    Why? I don’t see any connection between the ability to play with starlight and the ability to create or successfully manipulate organic life. Neither one necessarily implies the other.

  37. Breaking news! This could be one element of that ‘credible evidence’:Giant prehistoric toilet unearthed.

    If analysis of this treasure trove of coprolites finds a mixture of dinosaur and human droppings, then all you godless Darwinists better start a-tremblin’!

    And if the remains are found of a concealed video camera, with wires leading to a secret underground factory replete with blueprints and tools for making animals, then it really will be time to fall to our knees in reverence before this credible evidence for the Intelligent Designer!


  38. Our Curmudgeon grumbles:

    I know one contestant who is unlikely to be awarded the prize.

    Don’t beat yourself up, my friend, it was always an unequal contest–but do learn from your mistakes. Olivia finds that your referring to her as ‘the prize’ is actually a tad demeaning–and yet another reason why she so readily chose me in preference to you.

  39. I contend that you are asking the wrong question.

    The more significant question ought to be something like this:

    What alternative scenario do you have for common descent with modification by natural means to account for some major features of the variety of life on Earth?

    Only after we get some idea of what “intelligent design” is meant to be, does it make any sense to ask about evidence for it.

    And when I am asking for an alternative, I would mean something which addresses (some of) the standard 6W’s of an expository essay (who, what, where, when, why, how). I’d like to know, for example, how it came about that the human body is most similar, among all things in this world, to the bodies of chimps and other apes: was there some common purpose that the intelligent designers had in mind; or were there some constraints that were restricting what they were able to do with the materials that they were given; or what? I’d like to know when cattle (or “cattle kind”) were designed/created, whether the immediate result was a whole herd of cattle, with cows tending their (supposed) calves, chewing their cud, with the kind of knowledge which is typically learned in mammals about where to find things and what to avoid; or was it just a modification of DNA in the gonads of a single pre-cattle animal; or what?

    I’d like to know how their alternative differs from Omphalism, for if it does not, then the question of evidence is pointless.

  40. We are already past this stage, but if every animal had its own genetic code then that would have destroyed Darwinian evolution and pointed to special creation. Given that this is not true, the best I can think of is:
    Finding a section of DNA in humans that is long and has no mutations in any human being. When examine closely it contains a clear secret Christian message, for example code that has a one-to-one correspondence to the King James Bible. Even better if it contains information leading to the true location of Noah’s Ark complete with corprolites from all known animals.

  41. @TomS:

    You know that I share your frustration and then some. A crocoduck, Precambrian rabbit, DNA that spells “Made by Yahweh,” etc. are no more evidence for an intelligent designer (let alone “the” intelligent designer that most evolution-deniers and “Darwinists” obsess over) than the reproduction that we observe daily. You might recall that even I got a regular evolution-denier to admit that about reproduction a few years ago. ID peddlers, and Biblical anti-evolution activists before them have been getting away with that bait-and-switch for decades.

    As for Omphalism, as I understand it, all evolution-denial was essentially that before “scientific” creationism was concocted 50-80 years ago to attempt to independently validate Genesis. But that had at least 2 fatal problems from the get-go. First, there was no “the” alternative but their several mutually contradictory ones (several OECs, geocentric YEC and the heliocentric YEC that most fellow “Darwinists” obsess over). Second, the process of starting with a conclusion, then picking and choosing only those “evidences” that seem (on the surface) to validate it (to unsuspecting nonscientists at least) was pure pseudoscience. Third, it’s often argued that their faith was not strong enough if they required independent evidence. So, as I have contended for years, something like today’s ID scam, with it’s “don’t as, don’t tell what happened when, just do anything you can to promote unreasonable doubt of evolution, and let the audience fill in the blanks” strategy would have happened even if the Biblicals won the court battles of the 80s.

  42. SC: Most of you are failing to come to grips with the fundamental issue that this seemingly amusing challenge actually presents. Credible evidence for the intelligent designer must be: (a) more than pointing to gaps in the evidence for evolution; and (b) more than making lame analogies to human design activity. That’s all the Discoveroids have, and it’s nothing.

    And they know it. But like “Seinfeld” it’s both “nothing” and “much more” at the same time. The “much more” is a bait-and-switch scam that has fooled millions who never heard of Dover, much less can name a single Discoveroid.

    A much better question, if only to show the evasive games that Discoveroids play, would be: “You have been claiming to have found a biological designer for ~20 years now. If you are so confident about that, why have you refused to take the next step and state, much less test, what that designer did, where, when and how?”

  43. I actually found the interview with the man himself:

  44. -Producing the actual Intelligent Designer live on national TV.
    And in a related vein:
    -You’re walking along a beach when you find a watch. You realize that it’s Wonko’s Rolex and He’s going to be boucoup PO’d if you don’t give it back.

    -Repeatable, empirical evidence for the existence of an immortal soul.

  45. Changing physics and chemistry so that internal combustion engines can run on water instead of hydrocarbons.
    Too demanding? But with God ALL things are possible – right?

  46. . . . footprints in the butter.

  47. For the sun, earth and moon to have all been mad the right size and distance from each other to allow for a total solar eclipse and total lunar eclipse to be seen from earth… and then to discover that every planet has the same (except the ones that have no moon, that would be silly).