The Discovery Institute has been posting an amazing series of articles lately, each one illustrating a different creationist argument technique. Today, in Horns of a Dilemma: Does Intelligent Design Do Too Little — or Too Much?, they’re accusing their critics of being illogical for claiming two contradictory things at the same time. This is going to be fun. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis:
An irony about intelligent design is that it is attacked from, so to speak, front and behind. Some, including theistic evolutionists, criticize ID’s minimalism — it declines to name a designer, to describe the act of design (so that you could picture it happening), to say when or how often the design is instantiated in life, among other things.
It’s entirely appropriate to criticize the Discoveroids’ “theory” if it doesn’t do those things. They give us a few examples of such criticism, along with their attempted refutation:
•When: Different scientific fields tell us different things. Astronomy doesn’t tell us when the earth formed. But geology does. That doesn’t mean astronomy is less a science because it can tell us things that geology cannot. ID tells us whether something was designed or whether it arose via material causes. ID doesn’t tell you when the designer acted. But other fields can. Fields like geology (dating methods), paleontology (looking at fossils), or molecular biology (molecular clock methods) can potentially tell you when the designer acted to implement some design.
•How often: As we learn more and more about where we should detect design, and as other fields tell us when that design happened, we can begin to get a handle on “how often” the designer acted. So this question is definitely not off limits to intelligent design and ID can help address it.
•Identity of the designer: True, ID doesn’t tell you who the designer is. That is because the scientific evidence doesn’t tell us. This is a good example of ID respecting the limits of science. Some see it as a weakness of ID. In fact, it’s a strength. As William Dembski has said, “This is not a matter of being vague but rather of not pretending to knowledge that we don’t have.”
See? No problems. Then the Discoveroids say:
In a special irony, many theistic evolutionists tout methodological naturalism, criticizing ID for supposedly bringing God into science. These same individuals then pivot and complain that ID fails to identify the designer as God.
BWAHAHAHAHAHA! But both claims are true. The Discoveroids’ refusal to identify their designer isn’t because the designer isn’t God — he most definitely is — but saying so would be fatal to their fading hopes of one day persuading the courts that their “theory” is science, not theology. Besides, the Discoveroids sometimes slip up and do identify their designer as God, albeit not with scripture quotes as the other creationists do. For a few examples of their admission that their designer is Yahweh, see Klinghoffer Admits Intelligent Design Is Theism, and also Discoveroids: All Theology, All the Time. After insisting that they don’t identify their designer — blessed be he! — the Discoveroids tell us:
Meanwhile, design advocates are slammed for maximalism, or worse. Much worse.
Aha — that’s the contradiction! They give us quotes from critics who say that the Discoveroids are trying to destroy science. Gasp — imagine that! How could anyone make such an accusation? Perhaps it’s because they’re familiar with the Discoveroids’ Wedge strategy, the founding manifesto of the Discovery Institute, about which we wrote What is the “Wedge Document”? It declares:
The proposition that human beings are created in the image of God is one of the bedrock principles on which Western civilization was built. … Yet a little over a century ago, this cardinal idea came under wholesale attack by intellectuals drawing on the discoveries of modern science.
Discovery Institute’s Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture seeks nothing less than the overthrow of materialism and its cultural legacies. … Bringing together leading scholars from the natural sciences and those from the humanities and social sciences, the Center explores how new developments in biology, physics and cognitive science raise serious doubts about scientific materialism and have re-opened the case for a broadly theistic understanding of nature.
After attempting to rebut their critics, the Discoveroids say:
Whoa. So which is it, folks? Does ID do too little [failing to identify their designer] — or too much [trying to destroy science]? And why the hysteria?
BWAHAHAHAHAHA! It’s both! Imagining that they’ve debunked their critics, they announce:
ID may be limited, but if it can show that even one feature in living things is designed by an intelligence (no matter when,where, or how), the whole edifice of materialism collapses. That’s why Darwinists are terrified. They cannot allow an intelligent foot in the door.
Yes, we’re terrified. The final words of the Discoveroid post attack their critics for contradicting themselves by simultaneously claiming the Discoveroids don’t identify the designer (which they do), and then claiming that they go too far in trying to destroy science (which they also do), and they label their critics as illogical:
As for our theistic evolutionary friends, well, they’ve abandoned the principle of non-contradiction. Everything and nothing follows from that.
So there you are — a dazzling exercise in Discoveroid logic. They claim that their critics are illogical for saying two contradictory things at the same time. But the critics are correct, and the things they say aren’t contradictory at all.
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