Discoveroids: No Thinking Without Intelligent Design

Today we have yet another example of the Great Creationist Coalescence (the GCC) of various creationist outfits. The last time we wrote about this was Discoveroids Adopt a Ken Ham Doctrine, and that links to several earlier examples.

This time the Discovery Institute is embracing a modified version of another of Ken Ham’s bizarre notions — that logic is impossible without the bible because “The laws of logic flow from the biblical worldview” — see Creationism and Logic, Part 3.

At the Discoveroids’ creationist blog we find Lawyer, Scientist, or Animal? Choosing Between Evolution and Human Reason. It’s by Sarah Chaffee, a new Discoveroid staffer. We’ve been calling her “Savvy Sarah.” Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us.

In a post for the NPR [National Public Radio] blog 13.7, UC Berkeley psychologist Tania Lombrozo asks, Is the Mind’s Approach More Like a Scientist or a Trial Lawyer? She praises advances toward greater scientific objectivity, suggesting this holds promise that humans can overcome their natural biases. But the case for scientific objectivity only makes sense in a context where we can trust our reason. And guess what? That’s an assumption more compatible with intelligent design than with an evolutionary framework.

The NPR article doesn’t mention intelligent design, but like all Discoveroids, Savvy Sarah sees evidence for their “theory” everywhere they look. She says:

Lombrozo asks whether we tend to reason like scientists — that is, examine the evidence and draw conclusions based on it — or more like trial lawyers — cherry-picking data to fit our case.

Actually, a good trial lawyer knows how to think, and he recognizes when he has a weak case, but it’s his job to present what little evidence he may have in the best way possible. In that sense, he might behave like an apologist, but he knows what he’s doing and will admit that he does it. Anyway, let’s read on:

Lombrozo places her confidence in science — a human endeavor — to reveal truth about the universe. Is that confidence justified? Well, it depends. Judging from her earlier blogging, Lombrozo seems to be in favor of materialistic evolution, but that same viewpoint undermines our trust in reason, or ought to do so if you’re consistent.

What? Evolution “undermines our trust in reason”? What madness is this? Savvy Sarah quotes a couple of Discoveroids — always a smart thing to do — and then tells us:

Darwinism, in other words, undermines itself as a scientific idea. It asks that we trust the theorizing done by human minds, yet tells us those minds are a step away from irrational animals. How did trustworthy reason “evolve” ex nihilo? Materialists sidestep that conundrum.

Yes, dear reader — if you ignore the scientific method of gathering data, proposing and testing hypotheses, and rejecting demonstrably false ideas, then (and only then) you’re a fool to believe that your monkey brain is capable doing any useful thinking. Savvy Sarah continues:

But if study of the universe reveals evidence of intelligent design, we may have reason to trust our minds after all.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Here’s her conclusion:

Under materialistic evolution, we are neither scientists nor trial lawyers — but animals. Under ID, at least there is the chance of human beings exercising right reason and, on that basis, making real scientific progress.

So there you are, dear reader. The Discoveroids have adopted another of Hambo’s arguments. The Great Creationist Coalescence is continuing.

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18 responses to “Discoveroids: No Thinking Without Intelligent Design

  1. Savvy Sarah blabbles insanely

    Darwinism…asks that we trust the theorizing done by human minds, yet tells us those minds are a step away from irrational animals.

    Modern medicine is only “a step away” from the folk remedies and ;barber-surgeons’ of the Middle Ages. The Apollo Moon Program is only a “a step away” from the Wright Brothers at Kitty Hawk. An iPhone is only “a step away” from Alexander Graham Bell.

    So what is Savvy Sarah trying to say? Nothing can improve? Innovation can only arise through divine intervention of Oogity-Boogity?

  2. One of my standard ways of dealing with arguments against evolution is to ask whether the argument is at least as relevant to reproduction (or development – anything to do with the individual, rather than the group – IOW, the fallacies of composition and division).

    When we reason about something, is that an individual who is reasoning, or is that a species? If we, as individuals, are the product of a process which can be studied by science: reproductive biology, does that mean that our reasoning is flawed?

    Another thing I think of is whether creationism/intelligent design has a solution to the problem posed.

    If our reasoning is the product of an intelligent designer, is that a guarantee of its soundness? Are intelligent designers automatically reliable? I think of the saying of Einstein, and rephrase it as: Nature may be subtle, but it takes an intelligence to be devious.

  3. I collect illusions that fool the senses, so I know how bad the brain is. And the IDers definitely fit the non-thinking area. Where a scientist (good one) will know this and look at something from all sides so as to destroy the illusion. IDers look only from the side that maintains their illusion!

  4. Summary: Our reasoning is a gift from the Intelligent Designer(s), but our reasoning has led us to a flawed understanding of nature.

    Doesn’t sound like the Intelligent Designer(s) did a great job.

  5. I grasp any opportunity to repeat one of my favourite quotations from Willard van Orman Quine: “Creatures inveterately wrong in their inductions have a pathetic but praiseworthy tendency to die before reproducing their kind.”

  6. Not to mention the fact that even if we turn to the bible the Judea-Christian god is a proven deceiver so how can Christians trust that it’s not giving them delusion or false revelations if they turn to the bible that’s just circular

    plus to add to the list
    it’s like saying a vase is one step from clay
    or a computer this one step from steel and plastic

    Reason (which savvy Sarah never defines how very creationist) is merely a result selection favouring a brain that recognizes and utilizes logic as a brain that does so has clear advantages to brains that don’t even non-human animals i think recognize that something is what it is and isn’t what it isn’t is that not the law identity to which all logic springs

    And are animals really irrational ?many animals display reasoning are Humans always rational? certainly not Aristotle once called man a rational animal so he clearly didn’t think there was a contradiction and why should there be ?

    Lastly i find the presup used by creationists to be interesting because they assume reason and logic need an account when in reality logic and reason ARE the account

  7. I don’t understand savvy Sarah’s reasoning, since many other animals display reason, perhaps better than some creationists.

  8. Can anyone help me out?

    I’m having some difficulty understanding the difference between materialistic evolution (whose adherents seem to have earned the shortened title ‘materialists’) and, I guess, immaterialistic evolution (whose adherents I gather would prefer to be called cdesignproponentists). For the immaterialist side, I’m thinking maybe Francis Collins and the now defunct BioLogos? I really don’t grasp this concept of immaterial evolution..

  9. michaelfugate

    Almost every philosopher on the planet has undermined Plantinga’s Evolutionary Argument Against Naturalism. It all starts from Plantinga’s complete lack of understanding when it comes to evolution.

  10. This argument goes back to CS Lewis, with a particularly bad version of it in his book on miracles.

  11. If we have the ability to think rationally, then the overwhelming consensus of scientists (using their rational thinking abilities) that we are evolved must be correct.

    If we are unable to think rationally, then we cannot rationally conclude anything with respect to our origins – either that we are designed or that we are evolved.

    I think there is a hole in Sarah’s argument.

    Also, as pointed out already, humans are not the only rational creatures. Sarah will have to concede that God made all sorts of other animals rational as well, including my cats, who can logic out and open all sorts of doors and cabinets. Fortunately, he did not design them with opposable thumbs.

    The evidence of wide-spread rationality among animals is best explained by an unguided evolutionary process, rather than mischievously guided design.

  12. Could we rename her Hacky Sara? The argument she’s attempting to parrot is a bad one, even when articulated by a ‘sophisticated’ philosopher like Plantinga’s Evolutionary Argument Against Naturalism.

    When it’s attempted by somebody with no apparent background whatsoever in philosophy or science (degree in government, interned for a Repub politician, worked for a ministry), the resultant mess is little more than a self-caricature. If this is the best, and most “savy”, of the new breed of ID advocate, then it’s hardly surprising that ID is evaporating.

  13. michaelfugate has it nailed, and Sarah’s argument is not only bogus, but dangerous.

    Sarah is regurgitating Plantinga, who actually has the gall to enlist Darwin on his side by blatant quote mining:

    Are our minds mechanisms designed to uncover reality? Or are they cobbled together bits of survival mechanism, generating comforting illusions, self-serving special pleading, and rhetorical trickery, alongside a limited ability to navigate dangerous reality? Whoever embraces the former alternative is displaying a dangerous lack of self-knowledge.

  14. @Paul Braterman
    Are our minds mechanisms designed to uncover reality?
    I don’t know whether P. has been so specific as to suggest an alternative account for the origins and workings of our minds. Or whether he, like like so many of the anti-evolutionists, is content with finding difficulties with evolution.
    But I want to call attention to an interesting 17th-8th century doubter of natural origins of individuals, Nicolas Malebranche. M. believed that he had arguments against the possibility of reproduction, and believed in preformation, that each individual existed inside its parents. Other of the signature beliefs of M. was occasionalism, that all of the workings of the world were direct actions of God designed to look as if they were following natural laws; and – get this – that our thoughts were planted in our mind by God: “vision in God”.
    If our thoughts were not accounted for by our own, if they were somehow due to God’s own actions, how then can we have any reliance on reason?
    Is the world and ts actions just a show put on by God? As I said, I have no idea whether P. has anything positive to offer, or is just finding supposed difficulties with evolution.

  15. Like PaulB already pointed out the Coalescence is even greater than our dear SC noticed. This argument is very, very close to Plantinga’s Evolutionary Argument Against Naturalism.

  16. Ah, Anonymous is me, MNb.

    [*Voice from above*] You are fading in and out of reality.

  17. Reason is the devil’s greatest whore.
    –Martin Luther

  18. Lombrozo places her confidence in science — a human endeavor — to reveal truth about the universe. Is that confidence justified? Well, it depends. Judging from her earlier blogging, Lombrozo seems to be in favor of materialistic evolution, but that same viewpoint undermines our trust in reason, or ought to do so if you’re consistent.

    How, exactly, does “that . . . viewpoint [undermine] our trust in reason”? Ah, but Sarah continues:

    But if study of the universe reveals evidence of intelligent design, we may have reason to trust our minds after all.

    In other words, reason can only be trusted if it leads us to creationism. Since it doesn’t, creationists fear reason (or they’d use it more). It’s all so clear now.