Klinghoffer: “We Don’t Use God of the Gaps”

The Discovery Institute is constantly denying what is so obvious to everyone else, and we’ve pointed this out several times before. For example, see Stephen Meyer: “I Don’t Use God of the Gaps”.

In the Wikipedia article on God of the gaps, they say: “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.” Those gaps in our scientific knowledge are the entire data-set supporting the Discoveroids’ “theory” of intelligent design. As for their “design inference,” about which they babble incessantly using undefinable terms like “specified complexity,” all they have is William Paley’s watchmaker analogy. Those two silly arguments are the foundation of the Discoveroids’ “science.”

Now they’re defending themselves again. Their latest post is From The New Yorker, More Malarkey on Darwin’s Doubt. It’s written by David Klinghoffer, their journalistic slasher and poo flinger. He says, with bold font added by us:

An initial review [written by Gareth Cook] of Darwin Doubt [sic] appeared in The New Yorker back in July soon after the book came out. … Now there comes along Adam Gopnik in the same magazine with a long, silly essay (“Bigger than Phil”) thumping for atheism.

We haven’t read either of the The New Yorker articles, nor have we read Darwin’s Doubt, the creationist — oops! — intelligent design book by Stephen Meyer. Meyer is not only Vice President of and a Senior Fellow at the Discovery Institute, he was a central figure in the infamous Sternberg peer review controversy. Nevertheless, we can handle Klinghoffer’s arguments. He quotes from the Adam Gopnik article, and the material in brackets is in Klinghoffer’s quote:

Expert defenders [of religion] are more and more inclined to seize on the tiniest of scientific gaps or to move ever upward to ideas of God so remote from existence as to become pure hot air. Stephen C. Meyer’s best-selling “Darwin’s Doubt” (HarperOne) reinvents the God of the Gaps — a God whose province is whatever science can’t yet explain — with a special focus on the Unsolved Mysteries of the Cambrian explosion.

That’s a good description of God of the Gaps. Klinghoffer responds:

The God of the Gaps criticism, in any event, has been answered many times, including by Stephen Meyer, extensively, in Signature in the Cell and Darwin’s Doubt. … Meyer writes:

[Klinghoffer quotes Meyer:] Intelligent agents, due to their rationality and consciousness, have demonstrated the power to produce specified or functional information in the form of linear sequence-specific arrangements of characters. Digital and alphabetic forms of information routinely arise from intelligent agents. A computer user who traces the information on a screen back to its source invariably comes to a mind — a software engineer or programmer. The information in a book or inscription ultimately derives from a writer or scribe. Our experience-based knowledge of information flow confirms that systems with large amounts of specified or functional information invariably originate from an intelligent source. The generation of functional information is “habitually associated with conscious activity.” Our uniform experience confirms this obvious truth.

Then Klinghoffer elaborates on Meyer’s words. He tells us:

The argument for ID follows from a negative observation, the known inadequacy of the Darwinian mechanism — and a positive one, the known adequacy of intelligence — to generate information of the kind needed to produce novel animal forms. It is not an argument from ignorance but an inference from what we already know.

If that’s not enough to convince you, he quotes Meyer again. Pay careful attention:

Premise One: Despite a thorough search and evaluation, no materialistic causes or evolutionary mechanisms have demonstrated the power to produce large amounts of specified or functional information (or integrated circuitry).

Premise Two: Intelligent causes have demonstrated the power to produce large amounts of specified/functional information (and integrated circuitry).

Conclusion: Intelligent design constitutes the best, most causally adequate, explanation for the specified/functional information (and circuitry) that was necessary to produce the Cambrian animals.

That’s as good a defense of God of the Gaps as you’re ever likely to see, and it has inspired us to explore a question which has long haunted your Curmudgeon: What is the origin of the female breast? Follow our reasoning closely, dear reader. If we have made any errors in logic, please point them out to us, otherwise we think we have solved one of mankind’s greatest mysteries.

Despite Darwinist claims to the contrary, the breast’s origin is unknown. Therefore we shall — following the shining example of the Discoveroids — reason from what we do know — the brassiere. No brassiere has ever been found to be randomly formed in nature. They don’t grow on trees, and they don’t organize themselves in mud. They are irreducibly complex, made of two perfectly formed cups, well secured together, with a strap that is obviously designed to fit around a woman’s torso. The strap has a clasp, the purpose of which is to keep the brassiere securely in place. Remove any one part and the entire device fails. It couldn’t have assembled itself.

There are no materialistic causes or evolutionary mechanisms that could produce a brassiere. All the evidence and all of our experience-based knowledge demonstrates that brassieres are the product of purposeful intelligent design. Therefore, from the known inadequacy of nature to produce a brassiere, and from the known adequacy of intelligence to produce such such a thing, we can infer that intelligent design constitutes the best, most causally adequate explanation for the origin of breasts.

We gratefully acknowledge the intellectual guidance of the Discoveroids in leading us to this glorious discovery.

Copyright © 2014. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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12 responses to “Klinghoffer: “We Don’t Use God of the Gaps”

  1. They hope that if they can sound intelligent it will at least keep the choir from walking out. There is little doubt that they have given up on everyone else.

  2. “Premise One: Despite a thorough search and evaluation, no materialistic causes or evolutionary mechanisms…”

    The ID’s are loathe to recognize any evidence they don’t like as science, so they re-label it as “materialistic”. Nice way to simple dispose of anything you don’t like, without ever giving it the credibility of “science” or “evidence”.

    (Yeah, I know I’ve said this before, but it’s just so blatantly obvious in the way the ID’ers use this tactic over and over.)

  3. The argument for ID follows from a negative observation, the known inadequacy of the Darwinian mechanism …

    That’s bullsh*t. Evolution is driven by more than just natural selection, which Kling knows, and it is dishonest to state that somehow the various mechanisms of evolution discovered and described to date are “inadequate”.

    I want to hear about the ID mechanism. How does that work? How can we tell when something was designed, vs. simply evolved? For example, we know bacteria evolve drug resistance, and in experiments, they evolve to take in new nutrients. If we examine the changes in the DNA for these evolutionary adaptations, how do we tell if they were instances of design, or natural mutation(s)?

  4. Olivia has told me how fortunate she was that you found the clasp on brassieres far too “irreducibly complex” to unhook; she was spared thereby an unimaginable psychic trauma…

  5. @Ed If one complains about the inadequacy of X, it seems that one has an obligation to show how Y is adequate, if Y is supposed to be alternative to X.
    But “design” alone can not produce anything, other than a plan. And we all know many plans never pan out – especially the grandest of plans – and most especially a plan that promises everything and anything.

  6. The second part of the “not an argument from ignorance” should read something more like: “the known inadequacy of the ID creationist mind to present evidence, or to even proffer a complete, unambiguous argument supporting their assertion…”

    The second premise, it seems, would conclude that flowing water is an intelligent cause, as evidenced by the sedimentary sorting exhibited by streams and rivers.

  7. @Lemmy even proffer a complete, unambiguous argument supporting their assertion

    even proffer a reasonably detailed, unambiguous statement of their position

  8. Cheryl Shepherd-Adams

    Curmy, you know that before you lifted up the brassiere argument you should have amassed mountains – Tetons, even – of support. As it is, your under-the-wire attempt at causal inference hooks us into choosing one side or the other. Such cleavage will simply titillate the Discoveroids to the point where they’ll be bouncing with delight at our sagging spirits.


  9. Cheryl Shepherd-Adams awards me the booby prize!

  10. We have to grant Klingy one point: the IDiots do not use superconductivity at relatively high temperature as evidence for the Grand Old Designer (blessed be Him/Her/It).

    “The argument for ID follows from a negative observation”
    Well well, I’m in danger of getting some respect for Klingy. This is what I always have said, because IDiocy totally lacks any positive observation. Alas the latter is required to call something a scientific theory.

    “the known adequacy of intelligence — to generate information of the kind needed to produce novel animal forms.”
    Again correct! That information is of course called Evolution Theory. Breeders just have replaced natural selection by artificial selection.
    Does Klingy actually understand what he writes himself?

  11. @mnbo adequacy of intelligence
    Intelligence is not sufficient to produce anything physical. Something else is needed. Such as, in the case of breeders, animals which produce offspring, and the action of culling the breeding population. (By the way, intelligence is also not necessary. For the breeders don’t need to know why what they they are doing, but only to do it. They might be doing it because that is what “everyone does”, and they might doing that with no idea that it is producing more valuable livestock. The culture hits on that practice, by “random”, is the “fitter” culture.) I, for one, have that intelligence, but have not done anything about it, because I do not have the material (among other things).

  12. Techreseller

    it took me some time to learn how to undo my girlfriends bra with one hand. Having been married for over 25 years, ending that and beginning to date again, I had to learn all over again. Loved the analogy. Maybe I need to show it to the girlfriend and tell her I need more practice. Hmmm. gotta go