Discoveroids: All Theology, All the Time

The Discovery Institute keeps denying that their “theory” of intelligent design is creationism, but the posts at their creationist website seem to indicate otherwise. We’ve written before about how they keep making admissions about the religious nature of their designer, whom they never officially identify as Yahweh (because they always pretend that their “theory” is science), but neither they nor their fans have any doubts about who their designer really is.

For example, see Casey Admits the Designer Is the First Cause. Before that they had already emerged out of their closet, pranced around wearing ecclesiastical garb, and confessed that their “scientific” designer — blessed be he! — is transcendent. That means their designer exists beyond time and space, in that inaccessible and incomprehensible realm known only to the gods. Shortly after that we wrote Klinghoffer Admits Intelligent Design Is Theism. And don’t forget their wedge strategy, which makes everything quite clear — see What is the “Wedge Document”?

Now another Discoveroid emerges from the closet. This time it’s Michael Egnor — that’s his writeup at the Encyclopedia of American Loons. His new post is Lawrence Krauss, Eric Metaxas, and Aquinas’ Fifth Way. Yes, it’s another defense of a creationist column we discussed a month ago: More Creationism in the Wall Street Journal. Here are some excerpts from Egnor’s post, with bold font added by us:

[A]theist physicist Lawrence Krauss has responded in The New Yorker to Eric Metaxas’s recent Wall Street Journal essay “Science Increasingly Makes the Case for God.” Krauss denies that astrobiology and cosmology point to God’s existence.

We wrote about that here: Lawrence Krauss Rebuts Eric Metaxas. What science organization responds to critics of their theory by labeling them as “atheists”? Answer — none do, which tells you all you need to know about the Discoveroids. But Egnor goes on to leave no doubts:

Neither astrobiology nor cosmology, per se, demonstrates God’s existence. God is not demonstrable by the scientific method. … His existence — his glory and wisdom and love — are manifest in creation, but his manifestation is not the same thing as his demonstration.

Wow — this is great stuff! Let’s read on:

There are several strong demonstrations of God’s existence — Aquinas’ Five Ways, the ontological proof, and the argument from moral law, among others. These are logical proofs that depend only minimally on inferences drawn from nature, and do not depend at all on the current state of science.

He’s talking about Thomas Aquinas’ Five Proofs of God. Each of those has been found fallacious (or at least unpersuasive). Were it otherwise, theology would be as convincing as geometry. But many theologians and believers rely on Aquinas anyway. The Discoveroids certainly do. This was pointed out in the trial of Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District. We wrote about it in John Haught: Witness in the Dover Case. Okay, back to Egnor:

I’ll expand on one of the proofs — Aquinas’ Fifth Way, which is apropos one of Krauss’s assertions in his article.

Krauss was talking about the cosmological constant, not Aquinas, so we’ll omit that quote, which is only a pretext that gives Egnor an opportunity to talk about Aquinas. This is the translation of Aquinas’ fifth argument from the Wikipedia article to which we linked earlier:

The fifth way is taken from the governance of the world. We see that things which lack intelligence, such as natural bodies, act for an end, and this is evident from their acting always, or nearly always, in the same way, so as to obtain the best result. Hence it is plain that not fortuitously, but designedly, do they achieve their end. Now whatever lacks intelligence cannot move towards an end, unless it be directed by some being endowed with knowledge and intelligence; as the arrow is shot to its mark by the archer. Therefore some intelligent being exists by whom all natural things are directed to their end; and this being we call God.

We must point out that Aquinas wrote in the 13th-century — before anyone knew anything about what we now call science. To him, if non-living things acted in specific ways, it had to be because they were “directed by some being endowed with knowledge and intelligence.” Not many people would find that persuasive these days, but Egnor does. He says:

The universe behaves in accordance with consistent physical laws. Notice I said consistent — the remarkable thing is not so much that the laws are complex or elegant or specific, but that they are consistent. There is directedness to the universe. It is the consistent directedness of change in nature — the fact that atoms and rocks and bodies and planets and galaxies and the entire universe have tendencies to do one thing and not another — that leads via reason to the existence of God.

Planets don’t suddenly become marshmallows, and electrons don’t run off and behave like protons. Therefore God! That’s Egnor’s argument. Impressive, huh? He continues:

The existence in nature of unintelligent things that consistently act to specific ends presupposes an intelligent being who directs their ends.

[…]

The argument is simple, but powerful, and is quite immune to the obfuscation to which atheists habitually resort when complexity and specificity are invoked. Atheists can’t evade the evidence for teleology in the simplest physical processes. One need not understand the intricacies of quantum cosmology. Every drop of rain that drips off Lawrence Krauss’s nose demonstrates God’s existence.

We’ve had to skip a lot — to preserve our sanity. Here’s the end:

When I think of a manifestation of God’s glory, I think of the fine-tuning of the cosmos. When I think of a demonstration of God’s existence, I think of a drop of rain falling to the ground.

That’s very sweet. Go ahead, click over there and read it all, if you like. Then answer this simple question: Is there anyone out there who still thinks the Discoveroids are promoting science? Anyone?

Copyright © 2015. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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27 responses to “Discoveroids: All Theology, All the Time

  1. Charles Deetz ;)

    Defending with thought experiments and philosophy and saying the are demonstrable? I think they’ve gone as mad as Hambo has, backed in a corner and their cognitive dissonance on full display.

  2. Charles Deetz ;)

    ‘as mad as Hambo’ …. I meant.

    [*Voice from above*] All is well, my son.

  3. Every creationist article I read these days uses “ontological”, generally without definition. Was there a secret memo extolling the word’s virtues as a mantra? I am willing to bet that most people think it refers to a medical procedure involving the ear, nose and throat.

  4. Mary L. Mand

    The only thing he knows about the cosmos is impressive-sounding words.

  5. michaelfugate

    I think they meant “entomological” – referring to their God’s inordinate fondness for beetles.

  6. @SC: Correction: ” it’s another defense of a creationist column we discucced a month ago”

  7. Does anyone else think it’s strange that a creationist defending another creationist’s assertion that “Science Makes the Case for God” does so by saying:

    “God is not demonstrable by the scientific method.”

    Isn’t that what Krauss said?

  8. michaelfugate

    It is the typical creationist ploy to try making the data fit the answer instead of the answer fitting the data. They use whatever data fits and discard all the rest – it’s apologetics, not science.

  9. Anything not “demonstrable by the scientific method” is, by definition, not science, They have just removed their argument from the realm of science.

  10. “Anyone?”

    I do! I do!

    Oh, wait, I thought you said “Who wants gum?”

    Maybe I’m missing something, but wouldn’t consistent physical laws be what you’d expect from a purely physical universe? If there were an omnipotent intelligence I’d expect some variety, some whimsy, maybe a great flood, or zombies or something.

    Hmmm. Might kind of explain the attachment to a certain book’o’stories….

  11. “Is there anyone out there who still thinks the Discoveroids are promoting science? Anyone?”
    You’ll have to go back at least 200 years ago in history, I’m afraid.

    “the evidence for teleology in the simplest physical processes.”
    Science has thrown teleology out of the window at least 200 years ago.

  12. Charles Deetz ;)

    I came back and clicked thru to read this malarkey myself. For a guy who disagrees with every word of Krauss’s essay, he spends about zero words proving him wrong. The whole essay is ‘I see God everywhere’, like a sunday school lesson for kindergartners. It gets so silly, we get this proof (that CS didn’t post about):

    When you drop a pebble and it falls to the ground, and not to the sky, you demonstrate God’s existence. When you strike a match and you get a flame, and not ice, you demonstrate God’s existence.

    That the DI would let this post at all is amazing, it is pathetic, Egnor is every bit a loon.

  13. Wow. What can I say? That was the most Egnor rant essay I’ve ever had the displeasure of reading.

    He could have saved all that verbosity just by writing “The world looks beautiful. Therefore, God!

  14. The whole truth

    Egnor drooled;

    “The universe behaves in accordance with consistent physical laws. Notice I said consistent — the remarkable thing is not so much that the laws are complex or elegant or specific, but that they are consistent. There is directedness to the universe. It is the consistent directedness of change in nature — the fact that atoms and rocks and bodies and planets and galaxies and the entire universe have tendencies to do one thing and not another — that leads via reason to the existence of God.”

    He obviously didn’t stop to think that what he said goes completely against the alleged occurrence of ‘miracles’. Since ‘miracles’ would be contrary to “consistent directedness” and “consistent physical laws”, Egnor is actually saying that ‘miracles’ are impossible.

    The fine tuning claims also go against the alleged occurrence of ‘miracles’. As other people have already pointed out in other threads here and in many other places, if the universe is ‘fine tuned’ by ‘God’ there’s no room or need for ‘miracles’.

  15. The whole truth

    “… and the entire universe have tendencies to do one thing and not another — that leads via reason to the existence of God.” (my bold)

    That part of Egnor’s claim is saying that everything that has ever existed and will ever exist and everything that has ever happened and will ever happen is because his chosen, so-called ‘God’ (yhwh-jesus-holy-ghost) directed/directs it. Everything includes ALL of the destructive, painful, dangerous, deadly, ‘evil’, and ‘sinful’ stuff. So much for ‘God’ being omnibenevolent, loving, and ‘moral’.

    Egnor is also contradicting the concept of ‘free will’. If everything was and is directed by ‘God’, there cannot be ‘free will’.

    Isn’t it nice when creobots make claims that ruin their other claims? 🙂

  16. Hans-Richard Grümm

    Actually, every pebble which drops to the ground *decreases* the probability that a supernatural powerful entity exists – because if it did, it might have decided to float the pebble upwards by supernatural force.

  17. “Logical proofs of God’s existence” all suffer from the same flaw: you can “prove” anything via logic if you pick the right initial assumptions, but if those assumptions happen to be false, your proof, even if it’s logically valid, is worthless. Garbage in, garbage out.

  18. As far as I can tell, “natural” means something like “following rules”. Therefore, if things follow rules, it means that there is nothing supernatural about them. Perhaps someone has a better description of the “supernatural”.

  19. The IDers blew their wad and had their asses handed to them on a platter in Kitzmiller, et al. v. Dover Area School District, a decade ago. It’s over. Maybe if ID evolves into something else, even as it evolved from scientific creationism, they can make another go at it. I recommend they come up with something that has actual observational data associated with it rather than a simple armchair argument from incredulity.

  20. @Linuxgal: It’ll mark the dawning of a new age should the Discorrhoids ever put something empirically verifiable/falsifiable on the science table. But they won’t do that for the same essential reason that fraudsters always operate in secrecy.

  21. Con-Tester says: “It’ll mark the dawning of a new age should the Discorrhoids ever put something empirically verifiable/falsifiable on the science table.”

    They’ve done it a few times. There’s no such thing as junk DNA. And there’s no life on other worlds. Maybe there are a few others, but I can’t recall them at the moment.

  22. @Linuxgal
    The major problem is not lack of data.
    The major problem is that there is nothing to it. “There is no alternative to evolutionary biology. Deficits (even if there were serious deficits) in one account do not add up to an alternative.
    There is the fallacy of the “false dilemma” – “If your statement does not meet my standards, then my alternative is correct”. And then take that to the extreme – “If your statement does not meet my standards, then I do not have to have an alternative to be right.”
    There are no data backing up the “theory of ID” because there is no “theory of ID” to be backed up.

  23. @SC: True, I stand corrected. The question then becomes, would the Discorrhoids change their Punch-and-Judy show if faced with unambiguous evidence that refutes one or more of their predictions, or would they merely manufacture some new pseudo-explanations?

    That’s rather more what I was driving at.

  24. @SC
    I’m sure you don’t mean to say that if there is junk DNA or if there is life on other worlds, that that would be taken by the ID-ers as disconfirmation!
    We have seen examples of “bad design” in the world of life rejected as disconfirmation of “design” because – I paraphrase – “bad design is still design” – or – “the Edsel was designed”.
    Of course they will put things that are empirically verifiable on the table: humans have eyes, some bacteria have flagella, there is an immune system.
    And we know that when the next “breakthrough” is announced, they will proudly announce that that shows that there is “intelligent design”.
    The problem is not a lack of data, the problem is connecting the data to a theory, which means in the first place to have a theory so that a connection is conceivable. One cannot connect point A to point B if there is no point A.

  25. You’d think the author of this article would run it by a couple other people first and say “does this make sense”. His reasoning is horrid. Does the DI really expect anyone to believe this stuff? I get the sense they’re just making up stuff, throwing it out there, and seeing if anything will stick.

  26. winewithcats

    michaelfugate: “referring to their God’s inordinate fondness for beetles”

    Thereby giving away the identity of the designer?