We’ve posted numerous times about one of the Discovery Institute’s principal claims — that there is design in nature and they have the ability to detect it — see The Discoveroids and Their Magic Filter, and most recently Aliens & the Discoveroids’ Design Filter.
They claim that “secular scientists” routinely use Discoveroid methodology, but won’t admit it, because that would somehow unmask the fraud of evolution, to which they derisively refer as “Darwinism.” For example, see Aliens & the Discoveroids’ Design Filter, and also Discoveroids: Salmon Can Navigate, Therefore …, and also Intelligent Design Is Science: Cryptology Uses It. But sometimes they slip up and admit the truth, as in Intelligent Design Is All About God.
The problem is that the Discoveroids don’t have a design filter. When they see something they already know is the product of design (like Mt. Rushmore), they say it’s designed. When they want something to be the product of design (like DNA), they declare that it is. When they don’t want design (as with alien signals) they say the signals are natural. In all those cases they start with their conclusion and then retrospectively claim that their design filter told them so. But whenever they feel like it, they point to something not yet fully understood — at least by them — and start yelling “Goddidit!” That’s because their only “evidence” for intelligent design is either the god of the gaps argument or else William Paley’s watchmaker analogy.
That was a lot of introductory material, but it’s necessary to put the Discoveroids’ latest post in its proper context. It’s titled Research Showcases Intelligent Design Principles. It has no author’s by-line. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis:
One of our responses to critics of ID is that scientists use it every day. If intelligent design were not scientific, we would have to throw out forensics, archaeology, cryptology, informatics, optimization theory, engineering and SETI. Here are some instances of ID in action that recently showed up in the journals. The principles for inferring design are similar. If some of these examples seem weak for inferring design, it makes our favorite cases stronger when we argue for design in the genetic code, molecular machines or the fine-tuning of the universe.
Yeah, yeah — we all use intelligent design “theory.” Then they refer to some research discussed by PhysOrg in this article: Ancient peoples shaped the Amazon rainforest. A couple of excerpts should be sufficient:
An international team of ecologists and social scientists has shown in a new study published 3 March in the journal Science that tree species domesticated and distributed throughout the Amazon basin by indigenous peoples before 1492 continue to play an important role in modern-day forests. These new findings strongly refute the idea that Amazonian forests have been largely untouched by humans.
The team made the discovery by overlaying data from more than 1000 forest surveys of the Amazon Tree Diversity Network on a map of more than 3000 archaeological sites across the Amazon. By comparing forest composition at varying distances from archaeological sites, their analysis generated the first Amazon-wide picture of how pre-Colombian peoples influenced Amazonian biodiversity.
Okay, back to the Discoveroids, as they claim that this argues “for design in the genetic code, molecular machines or the fine-tuning of the universe.” They tell us:
What is etched in the landscape of Amazonia? Something strange and unexpected has come to light. For decades, the rainforests of Brazil exemplified wild, untamed nature. Its few human inhabitants, portrayed romantically as noble savages, carried on their simple lives in harmony with nature as a rebuke to us European-American polluters and ravagers of the planet. This was Darwin’s world, a land of competition and cooperation producing ecological systems by unguided natural law (especially the “law” of natural selection).
Did you follow that? Those foolish scientists thought Amazonia was “Darwin’s world.” Ah, but now we know better. The Discoveroids continue:
A new picture of this region reveals evidence of purpose, intent, and plan: i.e., intelligent design.
[*Begin Drool Mode*] Ooooooooooooh! [*End Drool Mode*] Let’s read on:
Additional clues reveal that the ecology was intentionally modified by these unknown people. By studying charcoal, plant fossils and carbon isotopes, and by following patterns between geoglyph sites, the researchers inferred that the inhabitants transformed the rainforest to enhance the production of fruits, nuts and other plants they found useful. The team was also able to infer which species were modified and which were ‘natural’ for the climate, and even to determine how the people used fire for controlled land clearing.
[*Begin Drool Mode*] Ooooooooooooh! [*End Drool Mode*] Skipping to their final paragraph, we get this:
Actually, the evidence for design in DNA and cosmic fine-tuning is far stronger … . They illustrate that common-sense reasoning about intelligent causes is alive and well in the sciences, published readily in leading journals — except when the implications might favor a certain world view.
So there you are. Every science uses the Discoveroids’ intelligent design “theory” — except those infernal Darwinists. Isn’t it time the Discoveroids got the respect they deserve?
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