The Discoveroids — described in the Cast of Characters section of our Intro page — are venturing into astronomy, where their magical designer — blessed be he! — has been busily at work.
Their “best” argument for the existence of their conjectural designer is that he provides a convenient way to “explain” things for which they don’t yet have (or won’t accept) a natural explanation. But as we all know, aside from Paley’s watchmaker analogy, all there is to the Discoveroids’ “theory” of intelligent design is the God of the gaps fallacy. Wikipedia says: “God of the gaps is a type of theological perspective in which gaps in scientific knowledge are taken to be evidence or proof of God’s existence.”
We can see this vividly demonstrated in the latest post at their creationist blog: How the Moon Supports the Privileged Planet Hypothesis. The author’s name isn’t given, so this represents the position of the whole “think tank.” They say, with bold font added by us:
Three astronomers offer “state of the Moon” addresses in Nature, revealing a troubling state of affairs: the Moon’s position and composition have so far baffled efforts to propose an unguided sequence of events that might have formed it. Since Apollo, multiple scenarios have been proposed, only to be rejected as either physically impossible or statistically improbable.
This is the article they’re talking about: Planetary science: Lunar conspiracies. You can read it all without a subscription. It’s by Robin Canup, described at the end as “associate vice-president of the Planetary Science Directorate of Southwest Research Institute, Boulder, Colorado.” She discusses several theories of lunar formation, and finds them all unsatisfactory. Among other things, she says:
Lunar-origin studies are in flux. No current impact model stands out as more compelling than the rest. Progress in several areas is needed to rule out some theories, support others or direct us to new ones.
It’s good for scientists to have an interesting challenge. The Discoveroids, however, see things differently. They tell us:
In this, design advocates might see the Moon dropping through two stages of Dembski’s Design Filter: chance and natural law.
The Discoveroids run through some of the current lunar origin models, which haven’t yet been accepted. We’ll skip that stuff and jump right to their stunning conclusion section:
We see these three astronomers coming face to face with realities that contradict their philosophical preferences. They want simplicity. They want plausibility. They want elegance. Even if “each stage of lunar evolution is plausible” alone, proposing a complex sequence of events to get our Moon, they know, multiplies the improbabilities until they become “vanishingly small” — yet the collapse of all the simple, plausible models leaves them with no alternative. They might well be stuck with “an unexpected level of complexity.”
So what? Everything we see is the result of a long chain of natural events, and would have been unpredictable a billion years ago (except maybe some undisturbed orbits, if there are any). That’s the nature of reality. Dembski’s filter is what we call Creationism’s Fallacy of Retrospective Astonishment. Here’s how they finish:
The words of these astronomers show that it is not the evidence that keeps them from inferring design. “Philosophical disquiet” or “embarrassment” should not prevent good science from boldly considering Canup’s question, “Are we missing something?”
Yes — oh yes! We’re missing the obvious explanation of Oogity Boogity! That’s the answer to the mystery of the Moon. It’s the answer to everything!
Copyright © 2013. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.