Six Arguments for Intelligent Design: Part 1

We haven’t seen anything like this from the Discovery Institute since the days when Casey Luskin tried to present arguments for intelligent design. It appears today at their creationist blog: ID’s Top Six — The Origin of the Universe. It has no author’s by-line. We’ll give you some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis. They begin with an “Editor’s note”:

In the past we’ve offered the top 10 problems with Darwinian evolution [about which we wrote Discoveroids’ Top Ten Problems with Evolution] … and the top five problems with origin-of-life theories [Top Five Problems with Current Origin-of-Life Theories].

Both of those Discoveroid oldie-goldies were by Casey in 2012. We didn’t bother with the second one, probably because it was merely repetitive of his earlier stuff. Then the “Editor’s note” says:

But somehow [Hee hee!] we neglected to offer a parallel listing of the top lines of evidence supporting intelligent design. Many different pieces of evidence pointing to design in nature could be adduced, but we decided to distill it all down to six major lines of evidence.

[*Begin Drool Mode*] Ooooooooooooh! [*End Drool Mode*] This is the rest of the “Editor’s note”:

So here they are, their order simply reflecting that in which they must logically have occurred within our universe. What follows is adapted from the textbook Discovering Intelligent Design [edited by Casey and published by Discovery Institute Press — see Hey Louisiana — Here It Is!], which is an excellent resource for introducing the evidence for ID, along with Stephen Meyer’s books Signature in the Cell and Darwin’s Doubt.

That was an intriguing introduction! Now the adventure begins. This is apparently the first of a six-part series of Discoveroid posts, because it starts with this heading: 1. The Origin of the Universe. Okay, let’s get started:

The famous Kalam cosmological argument is a three-part argument that the universe requires a first cause. Its name reflects its roots in Islamic thought.

• Anything that begins to exist has a cause.
• The universe began to exist.
• Therefore, the universe has a First Cause.

The step in the argument that science can address is the middle one — evidence that the universe began to exist. That evidence comes in two major pieces — (i) the redshift and the Doppler effect, and (ii) the discovery of microwave background radiation.

[*Groan*] Creationists do this all the time. The currently prevailing theory, commonly (and erroneously) called the Big Bang theory, doesn’t assert that the universe began from literally nothing. It’s the expansion of the visible universe that began almost 14 billion years ago. The singularity that began to expand consisted of virtually everything, but incredibly compressed. It certainly wasn’t nothing, and its origin or previous condition is presently unknown. There are various ideas about what was going on earlier, but no evidence, so scientific inquiry pretty much ends at the moment the Great Expansion begins.

If one arbitrarily presupposes an earlier condition of literally nothing, that pretty much locks you into a strait-jacket from which there is no escape. That’s a very good reason to reject such an assumption. However, a fanatic who is devoted to the premise of nothingness could persevere and arbitrarily presuppose a supernatural mechanism for generating something out of nothing. That may be great theology, but piling one arbitrary, unevidenced presupposition on top of another is very shaky science.

The Discoveroids then provide a fairly accurate account of the development of the current Big Bang theory, but then capriciously assert:

What all this means is that there is very strong evidence that the universe had a beginning. If the universe had a beginning, then it had a first cause. And if it had a first cause, then it makes sense to ask what kind of first cause is necessary to explain the origin of the universe. It must be:

• A cause outside of the universe
• Capable of generating all the matter and energy in the universe
• Capable of generating all the order we see in inherent within the universe (more on this coming up).

That was certainly predictable. They’ve done it before — see Michael Behe’s First Cause Argument and also Casey Admits the Designer Is the First Cause. This is a theological assertion, not a scientific hypothesis.

There’s a bit more to the Discoveroid post, but this is long enough already. Anyway, that’s the first — and presumably best — of the Discoveroids’ six arguments for intelligent design. We can’t wait to see the rest of them.

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

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21 responses to “Six Arguments for Intelligent Design: Part 1

  1. • A cause outside of the universe
    • Capable of generating all the matter and energy in the universe
    • Capable of generating all the order we see in inherent within the universe (more on this coming up).

    Is there any reason to think that a design fits any of these three points?
    Is a design outside the universe? Any design that I can think of is realized in words and diagrams, in the universe. Perhaps there is some meaning of the word “design” which is outside the universe. What it the definition or descrition of “design”? Does anyone have even just an example of a design which is outside of the universe?
    A design is not capable of generating matter or energy. A design is instructions for using energy for doing things on matter.
    A design, by itsef, is not capable of doing anying. It is only instructions. It takes an agent capable of following the instructions. An agent which is bound by the instructions. (An agent which is not bound by the design makes the design pointless.)

  2. You got to give Discoveroids credit, not only do they have no clue about evolution you can now also add cosmology and astrophysics to the mix. Is there any science safe from their twisted logic?

  3. Rikki_Tikki_Taalik

    But remember folks!

    Intelligent Design is not religious argument for a god in any way shape or form!

    That the arguments are semi-sanitized duplicates of ol’ timey creationist apologetics is a mere co-inky-dink!

    Take that, Wikipedia!

  4. Michael Fugate
    Better to start here, than with anything the DI spews. As SC says, the Big Bang doesn’t help them, they only think it does (as per following the creationist scientific method).

  5. Even if we stipulate this ID first cause two problems remain: it still doesn’t explain what happened and it doesn’t indicate the existence of this first cause 14 billion years later.

  6. I am currently soliciting “proofs” comparable to the Kalam argument that God does not exist. If you know of any (I have two so far) I would appreciate you sending them along (

    It is okay of they are not entirely logical, so are all of the “proofs” of the existence of god. Please note they aren’t committed to the truth as they keep repeating discredited arguments. And placing “god” beyond space and time is just a dodge. Their gods used to walk the earth, then they hid on mountaintops and deep caves. But when we went into those places and found no gods, they claimed they were in the clouds and sky. Then we invented airplanes and … no gods. So they moved them to space. Then we invented spaceships and powerful telescopes … and no gods, So they moved them to “beyond space and time.” What the hell does that means other than “a place you can’t search for my god.”

  7. Michael Fugate

    I like the idea that God is a being greater than I can imagine. Doesn’t God’s greatness then vary with each individual’s imagination? How can that be?

  8. “the universe requires a first cause”
    “If the universe had a beginning, then it had a first cause.”
    That’s not evidence, that’s an argument and a flawed one.

    What’s worse, this argument does nothing for IDiocy nor against Evolution Theory.

  9. @Steve Ruis:

    1. Not everything that begins to exist has a cause; think of atomic decay and electron-positron pair production.
    2. The universe began to exist, but is only part of our natural reality.
    3. Therefore, our natural reality doesn’t need a First Cause.

    1. Not everything that begins to exist has a cause; whether some things begin to exist or not is like throwing dice..
    2. The god of the IDiots and other abrahamists is supposed not to throw dice, not even with loaded ones.
    3. The god of the IDiots and other abrahamists does not exist.

    1. Everything that begins to exist is better explained by probabilism of Quantum Mechanics and its offspring than by causality – like by quantum fields.
    2. The god of the IDiots and other abrahamists is supposed to be causal.
    3. Quantum fields provide a better explanation for the Big Bang than the god of the IDiots and other abrahamists.

    Note that SC correctly points out that referring to the origin of our universe “the Big Bang Theory” is an error. Actually there are several Big Bang Theories; the first one to be refuted was exactly the only causal one as proposed by Alexander Friedman and George Lemaitre.
    Note another problem with this version of the Cosmological Argument. Causality requires time. This is for instance expressed by the momentum formula F*dt = m*dv. So if the First Cause is supposed to exist beyond spacetime it conflicts with “just a moment before our Universe began to exist a Grand Old Designer (praise upon Him/Her/It) designed it”.
    Finally note that there were about 30 natural constants to be designed. That rather pleads for 30 First Causes.

  10. @Steve Ruis

    I went for an evidence based approach and recreated the God vs Baal experiment described in 1 Kings 18: 25-40. Neither fire would light (earliest nonreproducible experiment?). So by the criteria described in scripture, neither God nor Baal exist.

  11. @Steve Ruis
    Everything that exists is the result of a design.
    Therefore nothing is the result of an omnipotent creator.

  12. Good grief, even this old, broken down machinist knows that design, by itself cannot make anything. I made many parts, even some custom built machines in my working days, they had been designed, but the designs alone only gave instruction, dimensions, etc..

  13. Oh, for the majority of shape I worked at, the person who drew the design could not have made what he/she designed. Wrong skill sets.

  14. Mark Germano

    • Anything that ceases to exist has a cause.
    • The universe continues to exist.
    • Therefore, the universe does not have a cause.

    • Anything that never existed has a cause.
    • The universe exists.
    • Therefore, the universe does not have a cause.

    • Any movie that exists has a cause.
    • Jim Stark is a fictional character.
    • Therefore, James Dean starred in Rebel Without a Cause.

    You asked for illogical! But, that last one is airtight.

  15. Even things that don’t exist are designed.
    (Fictional persons and thngs are designed. Impossible thngs are designed.)
    Therefore design does not cause existence.
    Design is resorted to by a limited agent.
    Therefore God is not a designer.

  16. I’ll give you your First Cause, Tooters, but you didn’t say anything about it being “intelligently designed” creationism. So, your first argument for “intelligent design” creationism is a big, fat failure.

    The person who wrote this clueless drivel has to be Dense O’Dreary. She’s the only Tooter so abjectly stupid to put this kind of stuff into words.

  17. The Watchmaker Argument makes me think of the thinking of an 18th century upper class.
    Only the upper class could afford such a luxury. And the upper class would have no idea of the origin of a watch. That is the concern of an artisan, not a gentleman.

  18. I think their title constitutes strong proof as to the fact that ID isn’t science. Science relies on evidence. It is philosophy (including theology) that relies on arguments. Can you imagine an article titled “Six Arguments for Gravity”?

  19. Suppose, just suppose, that the universe had a First Cause. Does it follow that this cause was the Judeo-Christian God? The Damn Idiots don’t say so, at least in the passages quoted above, but it’s painfully obvious that that’s where they want to go. Unfortunately for them, it doesn’t follow.

    Nor is it settled among cosmologists that the universe had a beginning. There are respected scientists who believe that the Big Bang was preceded by a Big Crunch in which a previous universe collapsed into a singularity, only to “rebound” into the universe in which we live. And there are others who argue that the universe did emerge from “nothing”; they argue that it did so along with a mirror universe possessing negative mass and negative energy and traveling backward in time, so that the mathematical “books” are balanced.. I’m not fond of the second idea and don’t see how the first can ever be proven, but either one makes more sense than the mumbo-jumbo invoked by the folks at DI. And at least these ideas are potentially subject to disproof, while creationism isn’t because it’s taken on faith and its adherents insist that any contrary evidence really supports their position if looked at the right way (cross-eyed?) or else is fake.

  20. Retired Prof

    After pointing out all the refuges people relegated the gods to after not finding them in the places they searched, Steve Ruis says ‘they moved them to “beyond space and time.” What the hell does that means other than “a place you can’t search for my god.”’

    Well, Hasidic theologians say their “G-d” permeates space and time but extends beyond it. The universe as we know it is just a manifestation of certain parts of his being.

    To follow up on that idea, let me suggest that it could be claimed that G-d’s mass, at least, has been found. It is Dark Matter, ponderous but imponderable. All attempts to identify particles of it directly–of whatever size they may be–have failed, but out of the figurative corner of our eye we can tell the mass is there, lurking within us, all around us and (as far as we know) extending beyond the limits of our universe, if it has limits. Maybe beyond space and time itself.

    And if Dark Matter be the substance of G-d, why not identify Dark Energy as his creative force, his spirit?

    Maybe I should pull an L. Ron Hubbard and devise a way to monetize this idea. Disciples would not have to climb a mountain or peer through powerful telescopes to receive my wisdom. I could tell them just to bring their offerings wherever I happen to be paddling around in my pool of Dark Matter, and promise in turn to bless them with a powerful surge of Dark Energy.

  21. Ross Cameron

    Gotta have charisma to kick off your own religion, Prof. Luckily they have mastered implants now. Hambo is lining up for one.