An Idiot’s Guide to Intelligent Design

Here’s an amusing bit of fluff from the Discovery Institute: Meyer, Axe: “Five Major Problems with Macro-Evolution”. Ooooooooooooh! It was written by Klinghoffer. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]:

There’s something very clarifying about seeing an argument laid out in crisp bullet points. For your weekend enjoyment, here are Stephen Meyer and Douglas Axe [both Discoveroids] on Frank Turek’s radio program. The interview was recorded following the 2016 Royal Society meeting.

We wrote about that meeting. The Discoveroids weren’t invited, so they staged their own conference instead, and claimed it was a big success — see The Discoveroids’ Cambridge Conference. As for Frank Turek, we wrote about him once before — see Atheists Can’t Function Without God. He was described as “a Christian speaker, author and apologist.” What were those intellectual giants talking about on Turek’s radio show? Klinghoffer says:

They hammer home the “Five Major Problems with Macro-Evolution

That link is about the radio show that discusses the Discoveroids’ creationist conference. It tells us:

• the main topic was whether naturalistic mechanisms can produce new body plans and new organ types

• no one disputes micro-evolution: beaks changing size, antibiotic resistance

• many of the naturalistic scientists admitted the problems with current naturalistic theories, but they don’t want to embrace the need for a designer

• none of the proposals that were debated solved the real problems with macro-evolution

Some of these problems have actually gotten worse for naturalistic evolution as our scientific knowledge has grown.

Those are probably the “crisp bullet points” Klinghoffer mentioned as being “very clarifying.” But to clarify things even more, he then presents some bullet points of his own, which he claims are the five major problems with macro-evolution:

• Problem #1: the sudden origin of body plans in the fossil record
• Problem #2: the origin of information (e.g., in protein molecule)
• Problem #3: need for favorable early mutations (for body plans)
• Problem #4: the problem of epigenetics
• Problem #5: the universality of the design intuition

That’s all Klinghoffer says — except for promoting some books by Axe and Meyer. Those “major problems” are clunkers we’ve discussed before (except for Epigenetics), and we won’t bother with them now. But one general point should be made. None of those “problems” is evidence for the existence or methods of the Discoveroids’ intelligent designer — blessed be he! They are merely a list of phenomena (some imaginary or absurd, like “information” and “design intuition”) the Discoveroids attribute to the designer’s unobservable, untestable, and incomprehensible activities.

Anyway, Klinghoffer said he posted that for our weekend enjoyment. He has fulfilled his purpose.

Copyright © 2018. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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25 responses to “An Idiot’s Guide to Intelligent Design

  1. Michael Fugate

    The 1st 5 points are almost as vague as an intelligence somewhere somehow did something, but we don’t know what that is.

    There are some interesting new studies that seem to say plasticity can lead to genomic changes fixing those phenotypes. This doesn’t help ID.

  2. “the universality of the design intuition”
    Now only if Klinkleclapper and Dougie the Axeman would apply thier “logic” to

    https://arxiv.org/abs/1812.01561

    But for some reason they always neglect this “evidence” for their IDiocy. There is no reward for correctly guessing why.

  3. “This doesn’t help ID.”

    That is not at all surprising since reality directly contradicts ID. ID needs to be accurately named UD for Unintelligent Design, which would also directly apply to their argumentation as well. Of course creationists are immune to critical reasoning and evidence so the irony of their flabby vapid arguments is always beyond their meager comprehension.

  4. Once again;
    WHAT IS YOUR ALTERNATIVE?

  5. If you accept a designer then you must accept that it is totally incompetent and should be fired!!

  6. Once again, there are these perpetual problems with an appeal to “design”:
    Problem #1: Even in the cases in which we agree that there has been design, it is clear that “design” is not enough to answer WHY such-and-such is the case, why this, rather than any of the other possibilities that could have been designed.
    We all agree that Leonardo Da Vinci designed the painting, “The Mona Lisa”.
    But if we wonder why is there that distinctive smile, it doesn’t help us to be told that it was intelligently designed thus.
    Problem #2: Design is not enough to produce a result. See the Wikipedia article “Unfinished creative work” if you need reminders of examples of design is not enough. Or “Impossible object” – all those impossible objects were designed.
    Problem #3: What does it mean for a super-natural agent to turn to a natural design to solve a natural problem? As William Paley raised the problem with respect to the omnipotent creator. (I admit that he thought that he solved it, but he failed.)
    “Why resort to contrivance, where power is omnipotent? Contrivance, by its very definition and nature, is the refuge of imperfection. To have recourse to expedients, implies difficulty, impediment, restraint, defect of power.” Immanuel Kant observed: “This proof can at most, therefore, demonstrate the existence of an architect of the world, whose efforts are limited by the capabilities of the material with which he works, but not of a creator of the world, to whom all things are subject.”

  7. Holding The Line In Florida

    Do the IDiots really think this is “clarifying”. Same old same old. Nothing to see here. Move along.

  8. Once again the only thing the Tooters have “clarified” is that their “intelligent design” creationism propaganda is nothing more than an anti-evolution screed. And they get paid to do this!

  9. So “sudden” to the Discovery Inst means 40 million years. Okaaaay

  10. @Monica Lewis
    I was going to follow up on your comment with someting about how Intelligent Design was taking millions of years. But, no, we don’t have any idea of the time scale of ID. Or how long does the implementation of the design take. Maybe an ID takes an instant (after all, what do we know about the process as engaged in by supernatural agents?), and then the plan sits on the shelf until time is ripe, or it is phased in over millions of years. Do these people expect to be taken seriously?

  11. Yes, mainly by Ahmanson.

  12. @TomS
    Yes. A designer can be so capricious there’s no telling what time scales are consistent with an ID

  13. Not to mention the fact that the Grand Old Designer would have to be a very busy dude (or dudette), what with all the different environmental niches requiring individual species modifications. Oh – and then multiply that by all the billions of viable planets that must exist in the trillions of galaxies in the known universe.

    And He or She or It still has time to give a toot whether we are being naughty or nice. Truly amazing!

  14. Klingy the Klown might as well parade up and down the street outside the gym in Seattle, wearing a sandwich-board that reads:

    “We believe in seconds adding up to minutes, and possibly even hours. But there’s no naturalistic way such things could generate enough information to result in months, let alone years.”

  15. Am I correct in the impresson that the IDers are willing to concede macro-evoluton up to the level of the phylum? To accept that there is common descent among the Chordates, that is humans are related not only to the monkeys and dogs and dinosaurs, but also fish and maybe even lancets, but draw the line by excluding starfish and sea cucumbers. Things have been going on naturally for the last half-a-billion years, since the Cambrian explosion.
    I bet that they aren’t going to be very popular, if that becomes known.

  16. Michael Fugate

    No doubt there is more information in DNA than in a Klinghoffer post, but so what?

  17. It’s the usual creationist tactic: take digs at evolution with an audience that is hopefully ignorant of the subject, while providing zero evidence for your own hypothesis.

  18. @TomS – Well, that would be an intelligent design strategy for the G.O.D. to follow: if you come up with a good design that works, keep using it with some tweaks here and there to better suit the organism to its environment. I mean, if it’s good enough for Mother Nature, it should be good enough for the G.O.D. – or would that be considered plagiarism?

  19. @PaulD
    That is what they were called on in the 1852 essay “The Development Hypothesis” by Herbert Spencer.
    @retiredscienceguy
    The transitions between vertebrate classes are pretty well covered by now. But the IDists, in their retreat, still have no process to fill in the gaps. How does “design” answer a sudden appearance of a phylum, a kingdom, a domain, or – going beyond evolution – life or the universe? They have no answer to their own questions.

  20. @Rsg: being omni-everything has its benefits.

    @TomS: “Am I correct in the impresson that the IDers are willing to concede macro-evoluton up to the level of the phylum?”
    No. Everything they accept is micro-evolution and everything they reject is macro-evolution.

  21. @FrankB
    Thank you for your correction.
    @TomH
    I assume you are referring to Problem #3 from K, rather than my Problem #3. I should have been more careful. To avoid confusion, consider my problems to be designated with the letters A, B, C.
    As far as #3, I don’t understand “need” and “favorable”. They appear at first glance to be begging the question. But they don’t make any sense when applied to design beyond nature, either. (See my Problem C.) Whatever is meant, what is the Intelligent Design solution? (Problems A and B.)

  22. Karl Goldsmith

    That was when they stopped pretending to be science, and parroted what you hear from creationists like Ken Ham and Ray Comfort.

  23. @TomD
    Sorry, it isn’t at all clear to me.

  24. Michael Fugate

    The whole “want” or “need” thing just shows why ID is not science; it relies on retrodiction and not prediction. There is absolutely no want or need for a body plan, but for the DI there is a want and need for an agent god.