There is no escaping the fact that William Dembski’s Design Inference, commonly called his Design Filter, is more useful than even Occam’s razor. It’s the means by which the Discoveroids use their “theory” of intelligent design to detect the existence of a transcendent designer of the universe. Our all-time favorite example of its application is Mt. Rushmore Is Designed, Therefore ….
The latest post at the Discovery Institute’s creationist blog — Is That a Rock Pile or a Monument? — makes this abundantly clear. This is what they say, with bold font added by us for emphasis:
A massive pile of stones in a roughly crescent shape sits on a hillside in Galilee, Israel, about 8 miles northwest of the Sea of Galilee.
This article from LiveScience describes what they’re talking about: Massive 5,000-Year-Old Stone Monument Revealed in Israel. One excerpt should be enough to encourage you to read it, and then we’ll get back to the Discoveroids:
A lunar-crescent-shaped stone monument that dates back around 5,000 years has been identified in Israel. Located about 8 miles (13 kilometers) northwest of the Sea of Galilee, the structure is massive — its volume is about 14,000 cubic meters (almost 500,000 cubic feet) and it has a length of about 150 meters (492 feet), making it longer than an American football field. Pottery excavated at the structure indicates the monument dates to between 3050 B.C. and 2650 B.C., meaning it is likely older than the pyramids of Egypt. It was also built before much of Stonehenge was constructed.
Here’s what the Discoveroids say about the crescent monument:
It just looks like a disorganized rock pile. It’s out there all by itself. There was no ancient city near it (the nearest one was Bet Yerah (“house of the moon god”) about 18 miles south, a day’s walk. It’s too far to have been a city wall. And it would have taken a huge amount of work to build … .
That’s discussed in the LiveScience article, which quotes Ido Wachtel, a doctoral student at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, who discovered the site’s significance. Wachtel examined the site, the Discoveroids didn’t. So what can they tell us about it? Let’s read on:
We can apply William Dembski’s “Design Filter” to this case. Did it form by chance? There are lots of rock piles on mountainsides all over the world, so finding this one does not seem that out of the ordinary. Did it form by natural law? We would have to know if these stones are native to that area: are there other piles of the same stones nearby, or does it appear certain that these stones had to be transported to their current location? Could the stones have rolled into position from higher up? Did the shape of the hill determine how they would naturally form a crescent?
Dembski’s filter covers all of those steps? Wow! The Discoveroids continue:
We don’t know enough about this pile of rocks to question Wachtel’s conclusion that it is more than a natural phenomenon — that it was intelligently designed for a purpose. It doesn’t appear he can state definitively who made it, or why, but that’s OK: intelligent design is not asking about the identity of the designer. ID just wants to distinguish between natural causes and intelligent causes.
Wachtel concluded that it was intelligently designed! They quote the LiveScience article:
“The proposed interpretation for the site is that it constituted a prominent landmark in its natural landscape, serving to mark possession and to assert authority and rights over natural resources by a local rural or pastoral population,” Wachtel wrote in the summary of a presentation given recently at the International Congress on the Archaeology of the Ancient Near East.
The structure’s crescent shape stood out in the landscape, Wachtel told Live Science in an email. The shape may have had symbolic importance, as the lunar crescent is a symbol of an ancient Mesopotamian moon god named Sin, Wachtel said.
Here’s what the Discoveroids say — and remember, they’ve got Dembski’s filter:
That’s getting speculative. He doesn’t even know who the designers were, let alone their religion or their purpose for it. How could a crescent-shaped pile of rocks on a hill many miles away from the nearest population center do anything to assert authority or property rights?
Then they mention another recently-discovered monument in Israel, to which they previously applied Dembski’s filter. We discussed that here: Rock Mounds Are Designed, Therefore …. In that post we said:
Yes, if this mound can be determined by archaeologists to be the product of human activity, then … then the Discoveroids know how to determine if your pancreas is the product of the intelligent designer — blessed be he! — and they also have the intellectual tools to determine if the whole universe was designed!
Now they’re going to do it again to the crescent monument. Here it comes:
That one looks even less like a designed structure. It’s only an irregularly-shaped pile of “unhewn basalt cobbles and boulders” on a slope. Would the people of ancient Bet Yerah have gone to even more trouble to build that one? Neither structure looks like it definitively passes the Design Filter. Stonehenge, by contrast, does pass. No natural law would carve stones that large and stand them up in a circle so that they align with the sunset at solstice.
That filter is an amazing tool! It reveals to the Discoveroids that Stonehenge was designed, and that Wachtel is a fool. This is how the article ends:
So here we see intelligent-design science at work in archaeology. One should be careful before making a design inference. You should realize that the “identity of the designer” is a separate question that requires other evidence. But the ability to distinguish between natural causes and intelligent causes can motivate research, yield major discoveries, and stimulate investigation of follow-up questions.
Verily, the world is indebted to the Discoveroids and their cutting-edge science. So why doesn’t anyone pay attention to them?
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