We’ve previously described William Dembski’s Design Inference, commonly called his Design Filter. It’s supposed to be cutting-edge science — the means by which the Discoveroids use their “theory” of intelligent design to detect the existence of a transcendent designer of the universe. The last time we posted about it was The Discoveroids and Their Magic Filter.
Today they’re giving us another example at their creationist blog: How Do We Know These Artifacts Are Designed if We Don’t Know the Designer? It doesn’t have a byline. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:
We don’t know who made them. We don’t know how they were made. We don’t know what purpose they served. But we know they were intentionally made by mindful individuals. At least, Live Science never questions the design inference about strange stone structures in Middle Eastern deserts that are shaped like wheels, triangles, and long lines [link to photos].
This is the article they’re talking about: Huge Geometric Shapes in Middle East May Be Prehistoric, but we’ll stay with the Discoveroids because their understanding is far superior to that of anyone else. They say:
There are hundreds of these structures. They extend over much of the Middle East: Syria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen.
How exciting! Then they quote from the Live Science article. The bold font here was added by the Discoveroids:
The “works of the old men” include wheels, which often have spokes radiating out from the center, kites (stone structures used for funnelling and killing animals), pendants (lines of stone cairns) and meandering walls, which are mysterious structures that meander across the landscape for up to several hundred feet.
Jeepers! The Discoveroids tell us:
World War I pilots readily inferred they were man-made. Bedouins call them the “works of the old men,” but apparently do not know who the “old men” were. It’s not clear what they were used for. The wheels might have been for forecasting seasons, since they tend to be aligned northwest to southeast to match sunrise at the winter solstice. But why the triangles? And the hundreds of “gates” with their long parallel lines? Who would make large structures that can’t be seen readily from ground level?
It’s an abominable mystery! Only the Discoveroids and their magic filter can provide the answer. Let’s read on:
New research using optically stimulated luminescence on the stones has produced dates of about 8,500 years for a couple of the structures. That makes them older than the Nazca lines. Were they burial structures? Signals to their gods? Animal traps?
Well, what’s the answer? The Discoveroids continue:
Other points of interest aside, the mystery serves to illustrate the logic of the design inference. These structures demonstrate that it’s not necessary to know (1) the identity of the designer, (2) the motivation or purpose of the designer, or (3) the function of the design. It’s also not necessary to know when they were made, or how.
Wow — all you need is the design filter! But it has to be used carefully. They say:
To make the design inference robust, however, it’s important not to jump to conclusions. There are similar shapes in nature that are not considered designed.
Geometric structures made by animals — like circular shells of diatoms, bird nests, or honeycombs — we do not attribute to the work of sentient beings. These are built instinctively for reproduction, feeding, or other life necessities.
How can we tell the difference? This is so confusing! But not for the Discoveroids. Remember, they have their filter. They explain:
Here is where the Design Filter comes in:
1. Can the geoglyphs be explained by chance? No; stones do not randomly collect into triangles, wheels with spokes, and parallel lines due to unguided causes like storms or earthquakes. …
2. Can they be explained by natural law? Natural forces can produce spirals like galaxies and hurricanes. They do not typically produce spoked wheels or triangles … . A bent-over blade of grass could trace out a circle as the wind shifts direction, like a compass. Snowflakes can produce a semblance of spoked wheels, but we know about the atomic forces that cause water to crystallize in hexagonal shapes. Nothing like that works on the scale of kilometers to arrange stones that way, especially aligning them with sunrise at winter solstice.
3. Is there a specification? Yes; we see an independent specification of the solstice that could guide a sentient being to choose to arrange stones with that preferred orientation. We also understand the human mind’s attraction for geometry and mathematics.
Isn’t that wonderful? Moving along:
To be sure, the design inference for these structures is more intuitive than robust. It’s conceivable that scientists may find a combination of natural laws and chance that generates these structures in that part of the world; unlikely, but possible. And since we don’t know of any clear purpose for the structures, our third test (specification) is weaker than one might like. Despite these caveats, the design inference is pretty sound. Nobody from the Bedouins to the pilots is questioning it.
Let’s see now … these shapes are clearly unnatural. We can all agree on that. They occur on Earth, in a region inhabited by humans, they date from the time when humans lived there, and they’re the sort of things humans can do. How complicated is this? Even the Bedouins agree that those things are human artifacts. But did they use the Discoveroids’ design filter? Does anyone?
Near the end, the Discoveroids attempt to explain why their filter is absolutely essential. Here it comes:
Evolutionists try to explain the human mind as the product chance and natural law, claiming it is the product of natural selection. The human mind is like animal design, they will say, simply more of the same. What’s the answer to that? Just turn it around. Such a position implies that the scientist’s propensity to speculate about evolution is also a product of natural selection. So if the evolutionists’ position is the result of blind, unguided processes, and if mental activity is an illusion, then reason evaporates; they have no way of knowing anything is true.
Aaaargh!! That’s true — but only for supernatural speculations, because they can’t be verified. Science, however, is quite another matter — see Faith-Based and Evidence-Based Thinking. But the Discoveroids disagree. This is their final paragraph:
Meanwhile, design advocates think that animals and their designs pass the design filter, too. Their bodies, behaviors, and instincts are the products of genetic instructions, making them act in a programmed way. We reasonably infer that their origins are the result of an intelligent cause.
That’s what passes for deep thinking at Discoveroid headquarters. Are you impressed, dear reader?
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