Discoveroids’ Design Detector Used Again

You know about William Dembski’s Design Inference, commonly called his Design Filter. It’s the means by which the Discoveroids use their “theory” of intelligent design to detect the existence of a transcendent designer of the universe. Our all-time favorite example of its application is Mt. Rushmore Is Designed, Therefore ….

That wondrous device is being deployed again at the Discovery Institute’s creationist blog. Their latest post, which has no author’s by-line, is Mysterious Structures in Arabian Desert: All We Know Is that They Were Designed. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis:

The news media were swept up in a mystery recently, when an Australian archaeologist told how he used Google Earth to discover mysterious rock structures in the Arabian desert. He and his team want to investigate and figure them out. “As of now, researchers have more questions than answers regarding what these structures were used for, who built them, how old are they, and their meaning,” says an article at Forbes. [400 Mysterious Stone ‘Gates’ Discovered In Remote Saudi Arabia.]

The Discoveroids also provide a link to an article in Live Science: Mysterious Stone Structures in Saudi Arabia. Then they say:

Only one piece of evidence is helping to nail down the age of the structures. A few of the structures are partly covered by lava flows. That means that they had to be built before the most recent eruptions in this lava field, which could be as recent as 1,300 years ago, or up to 7,000 years ago. Kennedy wants to radiocarbon date the remains if he can launch an expedition. Knowing the date of the oldest structures can help identify what humans lived in that area at the time.

They’re referring to David Kennedy of the University of Western Australia. He helped to discover the gates through satellite imagery. The Discoveroids continue:

We can relate to Kennedy’s immediate sense that these structures were man-made, because we are human and know what humans do. And readers of Evolution News, as intelligent design advocates, could run our handy-dandy Design Filters and decide that these structures pass the test: they are not products of chance or natural law, and they contain specified information.

[*Begin Drool Mode*] Ooooooooooooh! [*End Drool Mode*] Specified information! The design filter is very useful here. However, it’s not that easy. The Discoveroids explain:

But we would want to apply sufficient rigor, because a look at the surroundings with Google Earth shows some parallel lines that could be “natural.” Some of the perfect circles we see are clearly volcanic vents, also not candidates for design. Then there is the issue of distinguishing the ancient “mysterious” structures from a few modern roads and buildings out there.

Jeepers, this is complicated. Let’s read on:

Assuming our results concur with Kennedy’s, we can also relate to his enthusiasm to find an “explanation for their purpose”. But we know that intelligent design theory does not need to know the purpose of an artifact; it is sufficient to deduce that some purpose or intent was involved. Intelligent design stops when we try to figure out the who and the why. For instance, in cases where we have good reason to think a cosmic designer made something, we go too far in ID to specify it was God, or to presume to know what God’s purpose was. Those questions are better addressed by theologians after the design inference is made.

Yes, although the Discoveroids and their followers know that the designer of the universe, life, and you is Yahweh, it wouldn’t be prudent for them to say so. Another excerpt:

Evolutionists, in their reductive mindset, are likely to lump human designs into the same basket as termite mounds. Building things is just something the human animal does. Rock structures in the desert are mere consequences of large human brains and evolved behaviors, they might say. In this view, intent and purpose get swallowed up by the all-encompassing blob of natural selection. How do we escape that line of argument? How do we defend true intention for intelligent design?

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! The blob of natural selection! Here’s more:

What’s good for the goose is good for the gander: if natural selection produced humans who built the Arabian structures, then it also produced academic professors who write journal papers attributing everything to natural selection. Obviously, such an argument implodes in on itself. The only way to argue for evolution is to plagiarize theistic positions, which take truth and purpose seriously. Without believing in truth and intent, a Darwinian commits intellectual suicide.

Did you follow that? We didn’t. But if you think that was bad, take a look at what comes next:

Since in our uniform experience every system exhibiting functional coherence (to use Doug Axe’s term in Undeniable) — wherein we witnessed the system coming into being — was the product of human intelligent design, we can use the principle of uniformity to infer that a mind was behind the functionally-coherent systems we did not witness coming into being (provided they pass the Design Filter). The designing mind, additionally, must have the ability to apprehend truth and intention as genuine qualities of personhood. (Without that, all explanation comes crashing down.) Any scientist proposing to offer a scientific explanation, therefore, must necessarily presuppose that truth and intention are fundamental properties of intelligent agents.

Aaaargh!! [*Face-palm*] [*Head-desk*]

And now we come to the final paragraph, in which the Discoveroids return to the structures in the desert:

Looking back at those stone structures decaying in the desert over thousands of years, we can feel some kinship to the makers, even if we don’t know them. Like us, those human beings had minds. Like us, they had purposes. For whatever reason, their intelligent, designing minds set them to work building large rows of stones, some of them almost 1,700 feet long, for reasons we can only guess at. What’s not in doubt is that they had a plan.

Now, dear reader, thanks to the Discoveroids and their advanced methods, you know all you need to know about those Arabian structures.

Copyright © 2017. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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12 responses to “Discoveroids’ Design Detector Used Again

  1. Michael Fugate

    From Axe, “[functional coherence is] the hierarchical arrangement of parts needed for anything to produce a high-level function — each part contributing in a coordinated way to the whole”.

    Another meaningless combination of words – like specified complex information or irreducible complexity or explanatory filter. The vagueness allows for plausible deniability in that anyone who tests the hypothesis is not really testing the “true” hypothesis.

  2. I’ve seen Dembski’s ID detector somewhere before. Ah, yes, and I’ve found a picture of Dembski himself applying the detector to a test subject, in this case David Klinghoffer. There has never been a reported detection error when correctly applied by an ID expert!

  3. Ask for an example of something which is not designed.
    If there is no such example, then what difference does desgn make? What does design explain?
    Even things which do not exist can be designed. Things which never did exist can be designed (Wikipedia “Unfinished building”). Even things which are impossible – flying musical giraffe, shmoo, Wikipedia “Impossible object”.
    And design is resorted to when there is a difficulty.necessity is the mother of invention. It makes no sense for an omnipotent, omniscient agent to design.

  4. Design Detector?!?! Sounds so sophisticated, well designed itself. Even though it’s not a machine, the mention always reminds me of all those quack (some dangerous) devices I’ve seen in medical museums. Or the modern “lie detector”.

  5. Derek Freyberg

    Did someone say “Design Defector”?

  6. Ross Cameron

    There is an Intelligent Designer. Yes, there really is. HE created all the religions in the world. His name is—wait for it—MAN.

  7. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander: if natural selection produced humans who built the Arabian structures, then it also produced academic professors who write journal papers attributing everything to natural selection.

    And creationist cranks who attribute everything to an invisible Designer whom they refuse to identify as the Judeo-Christian God only because to do so would expose “intelligent design” for what it is: a legal fiction crafted to get around court decisions blocking the teaching of sectarian religious doctrines as science at taxpayers’ expense.

  8. I really liked ” if natural selection produced humans who built the Arabian structures, then it also produced academic professors who write journal papers attributing everything to natural selection.” No; the professors are the result of artificial selection, with actual people using chosen criteria to decide who to appoint. Yes, there is design, sometimes, one hopes, intelligent, at work in framing these criteria. But why this should “implode on itself” is beyond my understanding

  9. The creator of the Nixplanatory Filter ™, Dr. Dr. Billy Dembski his own self, publicly abandoned the concept of the Filter as “unworkable” with no way to identify “false positives.” So, Klinkerbinker is applying a concept the very creator of the concept declared unworkable. The Nixplanatory Filter is dead. As a door nail. Cold as a mackerel. Shrugged its mortal coil. Gone to sleep with the fishes. Given up the ghost.

    What’s next, Tooters, a Phlogiston Filter?

  10. Do you have a link for Dembski’s retraction? that would be useful in debate

  11. Michael Fugate

    In this interview from a year ago, Dembski seems as clueless as ever. Lots of bravado, but substance? not really.

  12. And certainly no retraction