In their ongoing effort to show that their “theory” can detect the existence of a transcendent designer of the universe by using William Dembski’s Design Inference, the Discovery Institute has posted a sad series of articles claiming that other sciences are already using their brilliant methods, so their “theory” is actually confirmed and widely accepted. A few of their attempts are: Chapman: Computers Are Designed, Therefore …?, and also Rock Mounds Are Designed, Therefore …, and also Mt. Rushmore Is Designed, Therefore …, and also Discoveroids: SETI Uses Intelligent Design Theory, and also Intelligent Design Is Science: Cryptology Uses It. That’s enough. You get the idea.
Their latest involves SETI (the Search for extraterrestrial intelligence), a topic they despise because they fear that one day it will be their undoing, but which they nevertheless claim is using their methods. You can read all about it at their creationist blog: Intelligent Design in Action: We Could Detect an Alien Civilization by Their Pollution, Astrobiologists Say.
Oooooooooh! What a title — intelligent design in action! In truth, ID “in action” is nothing more than the Discoveroids flinging poo at science, but let’s be open-minded long enough to see what they have to say. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis:
Methane is produced naturally in a number of ways. For years, astrobiologists have thought that spectra indicating methane on alien planets might provide a biosignature of microbial life. According to NASA’s Astrobiology Magazine, however, SETI researchers might be able to use methane as a sign of intelligent life, by differentiating between natural and fabricated methane signatures on distant planets: [quote omitted].
Okay, that seems reasonable. What has the Discoveroids all excited? They say:
What does “fabricating” imply? Intelligent design, clearly.
Ooooooooooh! Intelligent design! Wowie! Anything else? Yeah, there is:
It takes machinery to produce certain atmospheric signatures, and machines are fabricated by minds for a purpose. Natural causes cannot burn methane to make smog. Nor do they generate the CFCs that damage our ozone layer. So here’s an indirect way to make a design inference, without having to scan the stellar radio dial for intentional broadcast messages.
Ooooooooooh! A design inference! The Discoveroids were right all along! What are CFCs? They sloppily didn’t bother defining those initials, but they refer to chlorofluorocarbons. Let’s read on:
Unless [the] astrobiologists contend that our civilization is the result of unguided natural processes sans intelligence, they are implying that intelligent causes can be inferred from, of all things, pollution! It’s actually very instructive for ID theory. Who would have thought a blonde’s hairspray is a sign of intelligence?
Ooooooooooh! Hey, we’re getting the hang of it. If we see: (a) a rotting tree lying on the ground in the forest; and (b) a log cabin, we can actually imply an intelligent cause for the cabin. Yes — it’s all starting to make sense! Those Discoveroids really do have a valuable scientific tool we can use. We’ll overlook their remark about blondes — a rare lapse in their customary good taste. They continue:
If we could detect these particular CFCs someday, the point is, an inference to intelligent life would be inescapable. Intelligent-design theory never claims that phenomena worthy of a design inference are wise! They just need to go beyond the capabilities of chance and natural law.
Quite so. No one disagrees. But the problem the Discoveroids have is in persuading anyone with a brain that life, the Earth, and the whole universe are also “beyond the capabilities of chance and natural law.” They may get around to that some day, but this obviously isn’t that day.
There’s more to the Discoveroids’ article, but we’ve already hit the fun parts — except for their last line. Here it comes:
What was that about intelligent-design theory being a cover for creationism?
BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Yes, it’s a cover. A cheap, flimsy, totally transparent cover.
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