Casey: Intelligent Design Is Not Faith-Based

The Discoveroids are in denial-mode again. Casey Luskin, our favorite creationist, wrote this for the Discovery Institute’s creationist blog: Answering a Common Complaint: Does Intelligent Design Require Faith?

We know, we know — you’re wondering: How in the world can he deny it? He can’t, of course, but in his latest essay, he tries.

We all know what the bible says about faith: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” A more rigorous definition is: Faith is belief which is not based on verifiable evidence or logical proof. Either of those fits the Discoveroids’ belief in their transcendent intelligent designer. Here are some excerpts from what Casey says, with bold font added by us:

Recently I attended an informal philosophy discussion group including both theists and atheists. The topic for the meeting was whether intelligent design qualifies as science or not. … Toward the end of the meeting, a few participants still complained that intelligent design is in fact a faith-based position. By that, they meant that it unscientifically assumes design at the outset. Are they right?

Uh, no, Casey, you haven’t stated their position properly. There are indeed times when design can be perceived. Our computers are designed, but not our colons. However, the faith-based belief of the Discoveroids isn’t that design exists and can be detected — although Discoveroids often insist that they can detect it where no one else can. Their principal faith-based belief is that their imaginary designer exists. There’s no evidence whatsoever for that. His existence is arbitrarily assumed — on faith — because he’s such a convenient “explanation” for any phenomenon the Discoveroids assign to him.

Anyway, let’s see what else Casey’s got for us — aside from a distortion of the basic question:

Intelligent design works like any other historical scientific theory. It doesn’t assume that the theory will be true at the outset; rather, it tests the evidence from nature to assess whether the theory is true or false.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Where are the tests that determine DNA is designed? Or life? Or the universe? Or anything else that they always babble about? Let’s read on:

Before formulating a theory to explain natural phenomena, historical scientists make observations of the natural world. They seek to identify causes that are otherwise known to be in operation. In ID’s case, theorists study intelligence to understand the types of information and complexity that intelligent agents generate.

Ooooooooooooh — information! We’ve seen their “tests” before — see, for example, The Discoveroids and Their Magic Filter, and Natural Arches Aren’t Designed, But You Are. Casey continues:

Next, a historical scientific theory uses those observations to formulate hypotheses or predictions about what we should find in nature if the theory is correct (or, if it’s incorrect). In this way, ID postulates that if natural structures were designed, we will find high levels of complex and specified information, or CSI.

OooooooooooohSpecified complexity! Here’s more:

Finally, scientists perform experimental tests on natural systems to determine if the hypothesis or predictions are confirmed or disconfirmed. As one example, ID proponents conduct mutational sensitivity tests on proteins, the building blocks of molecular machines that function in the cell. They have found that proteins are rich in CSI.

Yes, proteins are complex. No one denies it. But scientists are demonstrating how they could form naturally — see How Life Began — Problem Solved? Also, as we’ve said before, genetic algorithms are excellent evidence of nature’s ability to produce spectacular design results without thought. The everyday use of genetic algorithms to solve difficult problems clearly demonstrates, again and again, that the unthinking processes (mutation and natural selection) identified by Darwin are quite sufficient for the task. Here are some specific examples of genetic algorithms being used to solve a variety of engineering problems. Moving along:

That’s the scientific method of seeking truth. It is not “faith-based.” Rather, it tries to minimize starting assumptions and let’s nature speak to us on its own terms.

And when nature says to the Discoveroids: “This is complicated,” the Discoveroids run around shouting: “It’s complicated, and that means the designer did it!” Another excerpt:

So how do you move a close-minded materialist who cannot allow the possibility of design into the position of an open-minded materialist who is at least willing to allow the evidence to speak for itself? The task isn’t easy. I have found among materialists a high correlation between those who claim ID is faith-based and those who engage in strident name-calling and mockery, railing against ID with its supposed ties to “conservative politics,” and generally being unwilling to engage in thoughtful dialogue.

Your Curmudgeon engages in mockery, but he wishes that creationists had never been invited into the ranks of conservatism. Alas, what’s done is done. One last excerpt:

Sadly, people like this have usually stopped seeking truth — and their problem with ID is not really about the scientific evidence. If there’s a solution, it involves being patient and friendly. A touch of grace is needed.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Hey Casey — at the desk next to yours sits David Klinghoffer. Here’s a sampling of his scholarly creationist oeuvre, which most of you have seen before. He’s posted a series of essays attempting to link Charles Darwin to: Hitler, and communism, and Stalin, and the Columbine shootings, and Charles Manson, and the Ft. Hood Massacre, and Mao Tse-tung, and Dr. Josef Mengele.

Very scientific. Very graceful. Sorry, Casey. Until you guys clean up your act and start doing some actual science, you’ll continue to be regarded as a propaganda mill for the Church of the Gap-Plugger.

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

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33 responses to “Casey: Intelligent Design Is Not Faith-Based

  1. Charles Deetz ;)

    CS throws some poo back!

  2. God of the Gaps? I’ll tell you where the gap is. It’s in their mental functions.

  3. This is the money-shot for me in Luskin’s latest (my boldings, and my gloss in square brackets):

    By presupposing that material causes are correct in all cases, they [critics of ID — in other words, ‘scientists’] are blinded even to the possibility of non-material causation. They thus perceive anyone who is not similarly blinded as being biased or promoting “faith-based” ideas. If you even allow the possibility of design, in their minds, you’re promoting faith. In reality, these materialists are the ones who are “faith-based.” Before weighing the evidence, they assume that nature is material causes all the way down.

    So Casey thinks it’s science that makes assumptions ‘before weighing up the evidence’? Like: Darwin decided prior to boarding HMS Beagle that ‘nature is material causes all the way down’? Riiiight…

    Science is not only a matter of ‘weighing up evidence,’ it’s also the methodology of obtaining reliable ‘evidence’ (data) in the first place. Anyone is welcome–even the word-lawyers of the Discovery Institute–to publish any actual data they have to demonstrate “non-material causation,” which seems to be their new term for good ole Oogity-Boogity. But their record on this is, ah, somewhat on the thin side…

  4. michaelfugate

    How again do they know the designer is non-material? What is a non-material cause – how does non-matter act on matter?

  5. Someday it might sink in that designers are a dime a dozen; it is the makers that do all of the heavy lifting.

  6. Hey, Casey — we live in a material universe. How can there be “non-material causation” in a material universe? It is simply an idea based on faith that there is such a thing.

  7. Doctor Stochastic

    If not based in faith, the it just ID-based.

  8. It’s always amazing to me that grownup people who presumably have an education would base an entire “science” on the assertion that because intelligent beings design complicated and functional things, then all complicated and functional things are designed by intelligent beings.

    Or said another way, because humans make complicated functional things, all complicated functional things not made by humans must be made by God, because, like, God totally exists and makes complicated functional things.

    It’s like Ken Ham’s defense of circular logic when used to defend the bible.

    Of course the Discoveroids know that just because there is one way that complicated functional things can be made, it doesn’t preclude the existence of other ways for such things to arise. They cannot help but know this. The only way to sustain their argument is to eliminate the other known means, evolution, of creating complicated functional things. So they continue to attack on an ongoing basis the “Darwin Lobby”, “Darwinists”, “Materialists”, atheists, etc… with their “touch of grace”.

  9. Why does this sound like an attempt at reviving the ancient:

    “You can’t understand the parameters of my mystical deity, but I do. So let me interpret the signs for you.”

    shortly followed by:

    “the signs indicate that the designer wants you to construct a very large building and cover a lot of things in it with gold please, and I’ll stay there and keep an eye on things for you”.

    History may be full of problems caused by such ideas, but to call them problems is really based on how you look at things.

  10. IMHO, if ID is based on anything at all, it is based on the fervent hope that one is not related to those dirty monkeys.

    What sort of an informal philosophical discussion group would be wasting their time on whether ID is science? Were previous topics whether Batman could beat Superman or if a tree falls in the forest …

  11. Casey:” I attended an informal philosophy discussion group including both theists and atheists…”

    Details Casey; Where, When, What Group, Etc. We think you are making up a story.

    Casey:”…how do you move a close-minded materialist who cannot allow the possibility of design into the position of an open-minded materialist who is at least willing to allow the evidence to speak for itself?”

    Well, you could start by providing something/anything that could be construed as evidence – anything at all.

    Casey:”…we will find high levels of Complex and Specified Information, or CSI.”

    What is the unit of measure for CSI?
    How does someone measure it?
    How can we know that one object has more CSI than another?
    Name a any object that has had its CSI measured and what that value is.

    If you want to convince someone that ID is “Not Faith-Based” you could try to answer some of these questions, rather than just implying they have answers.

  12. Paddington

    Doesn’t his explanatory filter require probabilities? If so, there are underlying assumptions about the distribution functions which will pre-determine the outcome.

  13. Before formulating a theory to explain natural phenomena, historical scientists make observations of the natural world.

    Casey makes a point of using historical scientists in his argument, but never brings forth any evidence. Yet observations and experimental evidence of the world show time and again a progressive change, adaptation, and evolution of all living things rather than being created in situ per Casey Luskin’s ID nonsense.

    By presupposing that material causes are correct in all cases, they [critics of ID — in other words, ‘scientists’] are blinded even to the possibility of non-material causation.

    Here Casey is using the Dishonesty Institutes reformulation of the definition of science to include his spooks and goblins as intelligent design agents.

  14. Intelligent design works like any other historical scientific theory. It doesn’t assume that the theory will be true at the outset; rather, it tests the evidence from nature to assess whether the theory is true or false. . . .

    Before formulating a theory to explain natural phenomena, historical scientists make observations of the natural world. They seek to identify causes that are otherwise known to be in operation. In ID’s case, theorists study intelligence to understand the types of information and complexity that intelligent agents generate.

    Or, in other words, ID proponents start by assuming an intelligent Designer (that is, “[assuming] that the theory will be true at the outset,”) and then labor to find things in nature which can be presented as evidence of design, without bothering to ask whether any of those things could be produced by purely natural means.

  15. ID scoffers are unwilling to engage in civil & open debate. Sure, Casey. That’s why no comments are admitted on your website.

  16. michaelfugate

    How else does one know designers/creators = gods exist except through faith?

  17. waldteufel

    Can one possibly imagine a world in which Casey would be considered a serious thinker?

  18. “Intelligent design works like any other historical scientific theory.”
    OK, Casey, then I have a simple question for you.
    How can we falsify ID?
    Or: what would make you convinced ID is incorrect?

    See, that’s what historical scientific theories do.
    Show me an experiment with two physical bodies repelling iso attracting each other and all current theories of gravity are gone.
    Show me a subject travelling faster than light and relativity is gone.
    Show me a Cambrian rabbit and evolution theory is gone.
    Show me a dog giving birth to a cat without human intervention and evolution theory is gone as well.

    Now it’s your turn, Casey.

    Silence?

    Good – then ID remains IDiocy.

  19. > “complained that intelligent design is in fact a faith-based position.
    > By that, they meant that it unscientifically assumes design at the
    > outset. Are they right?”
    ——————–
    Absolutely. Gerbil – look at your own outfit’s historical logos (DI has deleted them, but the NCSE has archived them). They depict religious imagery. Religion is faith-based by definition. End of discussion.

  20. Casey should remind the rest of the Disco ‘Tute that “Intelligent Design Is Not Faith-Based”. As the judge pointed out in his decision at Dover:

    Professor Behe remarkably and unmistakably claims that the plausibility of the argument for ID depends upon the extent to which one believes in the existence of God.

  21. docbill1351

    The single word response to the Gerb’s long-winded whine:

    Kitzmiller

  22. Dave Luckett

    DId you catch the little reference: “historical scientists”?
    (my emphasis)

    Has my learned friend been supping from the Ham chalice?

  23. mnbo: “Show me an experiment with two physical bodies repelling iso attracting each other and all current theories of gravity are gone.”

    Your friends here know what you mean, but you should specify “not counting magnets or like-charged particles.” Luskin’s a lawyer, you know. He would be tempted to jump on that.

  24. Casey the Luskin: “Recently I attended an informal philosophy discussion group including both theists and atheists.”

    What? No agnostics? Not everyone is either/or, Casey.

    “Toward the end of the meeting, a few participants still complained that intelligent design is in fact a faith-based position.”

    You mean there were only “a few participants” with some intelligence? And they didn’t “complain.” They “pointed out.”

  25. Thanks, rsg – I’m not a lawyer.

  26. @retiredsciguy questions whether there were only a few participants with some intelligence.
    It is not at all surprising that there are only a few people with some intelligence who would participate in a discussion with science-deniers.

  27. AR. enquires:

    What is the unit of measure for CSI?

    The base unit of measure for CSI is the Behe Mouse Trap, for which the standard notation is βμτ. That is, 1 βμτ = the CSI contained in one standard household mousetrap. In contrast, a basic paperclip, say, only contains 0.3857 βμτ of CSI. Something over a kilobmt (=1000 βμτ) of CSI can be extracted by centrifuge from a wind-up pocket watch, and about 400 megabmt (=400,000,000 βμτ) from a pocket calculator.

    By convention, the brave pioneering theorists of Intelligent Design have been honoured in the official nomenclature of large units of CSI, e.g. 1 Dembski = 1000^8 βμτ, which is the CSI contained in a Boeing 747.

  28. Megalonyx, Thank you for the clarification. I had assumed the SI unit was the BS and a normal quantity would be a Boat-Load.

  29. docbill1351

    Many people don’t realize that Dembski also proposed the Law of Conservation of CSI which states that Potential CSI, (πCSI) plus Kinetic CSI (κCSI) equals ZERO, which, coincidentally, is the sum value of the complete works of Dembski and Meyer.

    In practical terms, -πCSI(747 in junkyard) = κCSI(747 assembled by tornado)

    Thus, by the application of a tornado to potential 747 CSI at rest will yield, literally, “π in the sky.”

  30. Can one possibly imagine a world in which Casey would be considered a serious thinker?

    Yes. A world run by lawyers.

    Consider: In the world run by lawyers, “rules of evidence” is not about heuristics for evaluating the quality and quantity of evidence. Lawyers take courses in “rules of evidence” which focus on how to convince judges to admit evidence favorable to one’s client and disallow evidence harmful to one’s client. The legitimacy and qualitative analysis of the evidence and what it tells us about the past is far less important than convincing a jury (or a judge in a bench trial) to agree with the interpretations of the evidence that the attorney is paid to craft.

    Thus, Casey Luskin is doing exactly what attorneys are paid to do: convince people to agree with his client (i.e., The Dishonesty Institute.) What can be learned from the honest review of the evidence by honest, well-trained, experienced scientists does not matter to him.

    Now, let’s return to the original question: Can one possibly imagine a world in which Casey would be considered a serious thinker? The answer is yes. I can consider such world. It is a world in which Casey is considered a “serious thinker” by two groups of people: (1) Those who don’t understand science, and (2) those attorneys who look upon Casey with envy, if not admiration, and say, “What a great gig! I wish I had that kind of well-funded client.”

    Sadly, we live in that world.

  31. Professor Tertius describes a dystopian Ignoramia and Attornocracy and then notes

    Sadly, we live in that world.

    You’re probably right.

    That’s why I am growing a goatee and searching for a broken transporter…

  32. Professor Tertius says: ” Casey Luskin is doing exactly what attorneys are paid to do”

    Yes, but you’re only looking at one side. It was also attorneys who won the Kitzmiller case. And Judge Jones is an attorney too.

  33. Yes, but you’re only looking at one side.

    Of course I am. Casey Luskin is being paid to obfuscate science. Until the Kitzmiller attorneys and Judge Jones are paid to do likewise, I have no reason to complain about them.

    I come from a family filled with lawyers–but that’s not the only reason I find some attorneys quite annoying. (And I’m not just referring to their hogging all of the best cuts of turkey at family get-togethers.)

    Also, I know plenty of attorneys who refused to promote pseudo-science no matter how much pay they were offered. One lost a major corporate client of some 20+ years for that decision. Casey Luskin had and has that same freedom of choice.