Intelligent Design Is the Logical Answer

There’s a new post at the Discovery Institute’s creationist blog by an author we haven’t seen there for a while. It’s Kirk Durston, whom the Discoveroids introduced in this earlier post by telling us:

Dr. Durston is a scientist, philosopher, and clergyman with a PhD in Biophysics, an MA in Philosophy, a BSc in Mechanical Engineering, and a BSc in Physics.

We respectfully refer to him as rev Durston. The last time we wrote about him was a year ago — see Intelligent Design — It’s Twue, It’s Twue! The rev’s new post is titled On Fantasy in Modern Science.

That title is coming from a creationist source, so take a moment to enjoy the irony. Okay? Let’s proceed. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]:

Surprisingly, science fiction, both good and bad, has crept into modern science, to the extent that for many people the distinction between doing science, and creative storytelling, has become blurred. In an earlier post [link omitted], I discussed experimental science, which can be very trustworthy and is the source of every technological and medical benefit we enjoy today. In a subsequent post [link omitted] I looked at inferential science, both good and not-so-good. Now I am going to consider a third category of modern science, which I call “fantasy science,” where science fiction is often confused with science.

Ooooooooooooh! Fantasy science. The rev is obviously thinking of evolution, so this should be fun. His post is rather long, so we’ll just skip along and pluck out the goodies — like this:

Our observations of the universe, as well as our knowledge of theoretical physics, reveal that the universe appears to be fantastically fine-tuned to support life. Sir Roger Penrose, for example, has estimated that the probability of obtaining any kind of universe at all capable of supporting life is roughly 1 chance in 10^(10^123). … The implication for the universe, therefore, is intuitively obvious — there is an intelligent mind behind the universe that designed its parameters to support life.

Yes, it’s intuitively obvious. The Discoveroids have made that claim about Penrose before, and we wrote about it in Discoveroids Embrace Fine Tuning Argument, but we could never track down where Penrose actually said it — or what his evidence was. As we wrote back then regarding the alleged improbability of things:

[W]e prefer the Olympian gods as an explanation. That theory has nearly 3,000 years of solid documentation — easily going back to the Iliad, and the Olympian gods are a far more attractive explanation than some creepy designer who sneaks around tinkering with the flagellum.

Anyway, then the rev says:

Modern science, however, is heavily influenced by scientism, the philosophical belief that science explains everything. It is atheism dressed up in a lab coat.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! We’ve often said that the Discoveroids have repackaged their creationist dogma into an ostensibly secular concept which they claim is a scientific theory. Despite ID’s complete lack of any scientific attributes, they promote it as a scientific alternative to Darwin’s theory of evolution. But it’s a flimsy disguise — a reversible coat with meaningless science jargon on the outside and miracles on the inside — a garment made for flashers. And now, the Discoveroids are attempting to flip things around to claim that science is atheism in a lab coat. This is great stuff! After that, the rev tells us:

Consequently, the idea of a mind behind the universe is simply not an option, no matter how powerful the scientific evidence. [They have evidence?] There is only one other way events with such mind-bogglingly low probabilities could occur: there must be a near-infinite number of universes.

Lordy, lordy. Now the rev is going to saddle all of us with the multiverse concept, as if it were an inevitable component of evolution theory. He continues:

The multiverse, it seems, is modern science’s “god of the gaps”: if it is too wildly improbable, if we have no natural explanation — especially if the circumstances appear to point to God — then the multiverse must have done it. [Hee hee!] The interesting thing is this: an infinite number of unseen, untestable entities are proposed to avoid just One Unseen Mind behind the universe which scientism must deny at all costs. One might be reminded of Ockham’s razor at this point.

This is fantastic creationism! We’re not even half way through the rev’s post, but the rest of it merely elaborates on what he’s already said — evolution is statistically impossible, so the choice is between the Discoveroids’ intelligent designer — blessed be he! — or the evolutionists’ multiverse. Therefore, intelligent design is the logical choice.

Now it’s up to you, dear reader. Are you finally going to accept the existence of the intelligent designer, or will you go on imagining that this virtually impossible reality is one of an aaargh-zillion possibilities in the multiverse?

Copyright © 2019. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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33 responses to “Intelligent Design Is the Logical Answer

  1. Our dear SC is not really into Mattheus 7:7: “seek, and ye shall find”.

    But his former hero, the Attack Gerbil, totally is!

    https:// evolutionnews.org/ 2010/04/ roger_penrose_on_cosmic_finetu/

    At the other hand I’d like Rev. Durston to show me his calculation of the probability a Grand Old Designer (blessed be MOFO!) poofed the entire shenanigan into existence.

  2. Michael Fugate

    Has Durston calculated the probability that an infinitely powerful and intelligent designer who can do anything and everything chose this one specific universe to create out of the infinite possible universes this intelligence could have created? It has to be so close to zero that one couldn’t tell the difference.

  3. Eddie Janssen

    Has Durston (or Penrose for that matter) calculated the probability of an infinitely powerful and intelligent designer?
    Surely it has to be bigger than 1 in 10^(10^123).

  4. @Eddie Jannssen
    Yes, and how about the probability that an infinitely powerful and intelligent designer would choose to design nature as it is? Out of the uncounted choices available to the infinte agent?
    My variation on your question does not doubt the existence of the supernatural, or even that theGod of the Bible is responsible for evverything in nature. (Or, for that matter, accept that.) My point is to suggest that
    The natural/material/science cannot explain X. Therefore supernautral/design/God
    is notlogical
    Note that I do not rely on arguing against God, nor for an explanation of X by the natural, material, or science. I don’t want to discuss red herrings.

  5. Mark Germano

    How about the probability that an intelligence powerful enough to design and create a universe would only create one?

    If I had it in me, I’d be creating universes all over the place.

  6. Richard Bond

    Penrose’s figure of one chance in 10^(10^123) comes from the end of chapter 7 of his The Emperor,s New Mind. His calculation is based on a model of the Big Crunch that would be the fate of a closed universe. Contrary to that model, observation shows that our universe is flat (not closed) and is undergoing accelerating expansion.

  7. Karl Goldsmith

    Creationists just don’t get irony.

  8. Sorry but they are showing their love for an incompetent near worthless idiot designer. Because if all around us is the evidence of the designer than the above is completely correct. And if they insist that they are NOT christANULs then the whole A&E thing is irrelevant, there by adding to my 1st statement as true!

  9. If the parameters of nature are finely tuned for intelligent life on Earth, then contrary to the creationists, including advocates of “Intelligent Design”, intelligent life is compatible with the laws of nature, and does not need the special attention of God, Earth is not a Privileged Planet. The Young Earth Creationists are mistaken about what we can know about the past, billions of years of life.

    If there are laws like the Creationists’ “Second Law of Thermodynamics”, which is supposedly incompatible with life on Earth; if there is a “Law of Conservation of Specified Complex Information”; if the laws of nature prevent the generation of “Irreducible Complexity”; then the laws of nature are not fine-tuned for life on Earth.

  10. I’m so depressed that this all-powerful designer didn’t design me to detect his presence. Is that asking so much?

  11. @Matt feels down: “this all-powerful designer didn’t design me to …..”
    Read, learn and shiver: there is a very important creationist law that goes like this.

    1. Something good: praise the Grand Old Designer!
    2. Something bad: blame Homo Sapiens!

    You obviously are a case of an athiest materialist evilutionist who looks but doesn’t see, who hears but doesn’t listen. Ask Alvin Plantinga: the Grand Old Designer (blessed be MOFO!) has equipped you with a sensus divinitatis. You are just too stubborn etc. to use it. This world is broken, you are broken and you refuse to accept the remedy. That’s what happens when you accept evilution!

  12. Michael Fugate

    I wonder if Ann Gauger is searching for the genes coding for the Sensus divinitatis in her green screen lab?

  13. It is shocking, but typical for creationism that somebody with a solid training in science and philosophy spouts out so much nonsense about the nature of science.
    His distinction between “experimental science” (“which can be very trustworthy and is the source of every technological and medical benefit we enjoy today”) and “inferential science” (“good and not-so-good”) reminds one of Ham’s famous condemnation of “historical science”.

    But then he comes with ‘scientism’, which claims that science can answer any question. This is used by some atheists trying to use science to disprove anything outside the natural realm. Rev Durston ignores the vast majority of theologians who have no issues with doing proper science and don’t see any conflict.

  14. If the universe was actually *designed* for life it would not be as nearly as inhospitable to life and we would be able to travel of other planets and solar systems with ease.* The fine tuning argument falls flat on its face because a
    good design would not need “fine tuning” for life at all. These morons always start with their idiot conclusions and then work backwards in an attempt to invent “evidence” for their irrational beliefs.

    *Tartigrades can withstand the vacuum and radiation of space for orders of magnitude longer times than humans. Hence the “designer” of the universe must greatly prefer tartigrades to humans.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tardigrade

  15. Does it occur to anyone who posits that there is a powerful explanation for more than poor old science can explain –
    How about giving an example of an explanation?
    How does the super-natural account for there being only a few kinds of non-marsupial mammals in Australia?
    How does a designer account for vertebrates having one kind of eye, and insects having a different kind of eye?
    Any explanation which does not depend on there being laws of nature.

  16. Mark Germano

    I wonder if “sensus divinitatis” is condescending or just merely patronizing.

  17. Mark Germano

    Coincidentally, “sensus divinitatis” was also a spell that Hermione Grainger used to conjure up a bratwurst with sauerkraut at the quidditch world cup.

  18. My “sensus divinatatis” isn’t picking up any signals from God, just plain old quirks of human irony. Here’s some art history trivia for those who couldn’t care less, anyway.

    The DI reproduced a twee, kitschy painting by Edward Robert Hughes to accompany Captain Reverend Kirk’s drivel. Hughes painted in a late — late, late — Pre-Raphaelite manner. The Pre-Raphaelites were a bunch of Victorian reactionaries who made it their mission impossible to try and take art back to an earlier, hallowed Golden Age.

    No need to spell things out any further, but the parallels with the Seattle crazies are telling, and appropriate.

  19. Theodore Lawry

    From Kirk Durston’s article:

    Even using the most optimistic extreme upper limits for the probabilities of blind and mindless nature coding the digital information for thousands of functional proteins necessary for an operating cell, including the required molecular machines, those probabilities are so infinitesimally small …

    Oh please, everyone knows that random processes could not possibly create the complexity of even the crudest living cell. Everyone knows that, but the people who have any sense don’t fixate on that dead end, they look for other possibilities, such as chemical feedback loops aka pre-biotic evolution to see if there is a way that could work. Nobody knows the answer to that question, but studying it is the only way that we might actually learn the real answers. Doing idiot combinatorics to calculate the “odds” of randomly assembling a genome is just stupid, we know that didn’t happen.

    The real question is what did happen. If you want to prove the existence of God, you have to show there is no natural process that could produce life, and “natural” need not mean “random.” These “scientism” slingers need to grow up, scientifically.

  20. @Theodore Lowry
    Two more things
    1. Whatever X is proved NOT possible, it doesn’t prove that Y is true. Creationists never get around to describing their Y: what, where, why, how. ID-era, don’t say who or when. Let alone getting around to proving
    anything positive.
    2. Random does not mean specifically equal probabilies. For example, the random results of the throws of a pair of dice show 7 much more often than 11. When I buy a lottery ticket, the random result for me has always been $0. The quantum mechanics of chemical reactions result in macroscopic very limited results.

  21. BTW this is nit-picking compared to the rest, but “near infinite” is meangless. Any finite number, no matter how large, is small compared with any infinity. A googleplex^googleplex is far from, is followed by, many more finite numbers before any infinity.

  22. Let me join TomS and do some nit-picking as well.

    “Random does not mean specifically equal probabilies.”
    I’d say it does. There are two advantages.
    1. It’s handy to recognize that there are extreme cases of probabilties: probability 0 pretty often means negative causality (X does not cause Y), probability 1 just as often means positive causality (X causes Y) and well-designed dice (gasp! – oh wait, humans diddid) produce random results.
    2. It’s nice to have another reason to call creacrappers what they are – a bunch of shameless liars. Evolution is not random; it’s causal. Even mutations aren’t random, even if they aren’t determined either.

  23. I’d suggest seeing what Wikipedia says about “probability 1” and “probabiliy 0”.
    And classical genetics uses probabilities for the outcome of the next generation. (As far as usefulness in responding to creationism, ISTM that it often interesting to draw attention to reproduction. Many of the creationist arguments against evolution, if they worked, would apply against reproduction.)
    Is radioactive decay – described by probabilities – not caused?
    Casinos make money on random events. What about insurance companies?

  24. Hans-Richard Grümm

    I wonder what the rev Durston would call Faraday’s introduction of the magnetic field to explain the curious behavior of iron filings. “Inferential science” ?

  25. TomS suggests: “seeing what Wikipedia says ….”
    Which is perfectly in line with what I wrote: X causes Y implies certainty (and hence has a probability of 1, while X doesn’t cause Y implies impossibility (and hence has a probability of 0). Instead I’d suggest to pay attention to my usage of the word “often”.

    “Is radioactive decay – described by probabilities – not caused?”
    No.
    It’s not random either.
    The probability is only slightly above 0, but it’s always possible that a specific radioactive atom remains intact for another billion of years – and then another billion of years – and then another billion of years etc.
    Sure some physicists may be sloppy. Some philosophers (especially those who claim to do philosophy of religion) would answer affirmatively too, because they want to obfuscate the problem of a god playing dice (Einstein again!). They want to maintain one way or another that a causal and deterministic god can have created a probabilistic natural reality. Thus they hope that the Cosmological Argument (a favourite) holds its own. It would be sincere if they instead replaced First Cause by First Explanation, but that would bring several other problems to the forefront.

    A better example would be Brownian Motion in liquids. That’s caused (as long we remain in the realm of Classical Physics), but accepting causality would result in insanely complicated calculations. Probabilism is simpler. However saying that Brownian Motion is random quite misses the point. Btw this stresses another interesting point: laws of physics are mere descriptions. They don’t need to be perfect; good approaches suffice.

    To avoid needless problems due to ambiguity I prefer to limit causality to probability either 0 (impossible) or 1 (absolutely certain). It makes understanding physics and related philosophy lots and lots easier. Crystal clear and umambiguous language always does; this is the lesson Logical Positivism taught us.

  26. @FrankB
    Probability 1 is Almost always;
    Probability 0 is Almost never. They are not Necessary and Impossible.

  27. Techreseller

    And such a wasteful designer. He or she would be fired from their first job posthaste. Creating a universe with so much matter and energy and only making a very very very small fraction available to life for any use. The boss would fire him or her after the first proposed object. And then the poor designs. To paraphrase Neil DeGrasse Tyson, why for mammals is the entertainment system tied in with the sewer system? Again, he or she is fired.

  28. @TomS: according to Newtonian Mechanics it’s impossible to walk through a wall. Probability 0. Impossible. So you’re simply wrong as far as High School physics is involved.
    Moreover you didn’t define “almost”. Where do you draw the line? 0,0001? 0,49999? On what grounds? When rounded both end up as 0. Like I wrote, your terminology is ambiguous and that’s exactly why I reject your view.
    Thanks for illustrating my point.

  29. Steve Gerrard

    What everyone wants to know is, why did this god have to fine-tune the universe so it would comply with the laws of physics and support biological life? Why couldn’t he do it anyway he wanted to? Why did the laws of physics get to tell him what he could and couldn’t do? How did he end up having constraints imposed on him? Which was really in charge: a god, or the laws of physics?

  30. @Steve Gerrard
    And if he fine tuned the laws of nature to his will, why does he resort to miracles, breaking those laws? Among those miracles, the creation of life, which, so we are told, cannot have been done while obeying the laws of nature. Or creating the World with the false appearance of age, according to the Omphalos Hypothesis (or making it impossible for us to know about when “we weren’t there”, a failure also in creating our capacity of knowledge).
    Or, if the laws were fine tuned in the first place to make the universe the way he wanted it, how does that show his cleverness in design in just following those laws? (As if I were being a designer when I follow the instructions in a kit to assemble something.)

  31. Our observations of the universe, as well as our knowledge of theoretical physics, reveal that the universe appears to be fantastically fine-tuned to support life. Sir Roger Penrose, for example, has estimated that the probability of obtaining any kind of universe at all capable of supporting life is roughly 1 chance in 10^(10^123). … The implication for the universe, therefore, is intuitively obvious — there is an intelligent mind behind the universe that designed its parameters to support life.

    Lots of things are “intuitively obvious” until actual evidence indicates they’re not actually true. It is, for example, “intuitively obvious” that the planet Earth stands still at the center of the universe and everything else revolves around it. Why, you can see it with your own eyes!

    Consequently, the idea of a mind behind the universe is simply not an option, no matter how powerful the scientific evidence. [They have evidence?] There is only one other way events with such mind-bogglingly low probabilities could occur: there must be a near-infinite number of universes.

    The multiverse theory actually traces back to Hugh Everett III, who wrote his graduate thesis on it as an alternative to the so-called “Copenhagen school idea that all events require an observer to “collapse the wave function” of events so that we see only one outcome. Everett argued that the Copenhagen school’s interpretation of the uncertainty principle did not arise naturally from the equations of quantum mechanics, while his “many worlds” interpretation did, since it did not require the wave function to somehow, inexplicably, collapse. I’m not competent to judge whether Everett was right or not, but his idea is at least considered respectable among those who are.

    The multiverse, it seems, is modern science’s “god of the gaps”: if it is too wildly improbable, if we have no natural explanation — especially if the circumstances appear to point to God — then the multiverse must have done it. [Hee hee!] The interesting thing is this: an infinite number of unseen, untestable entities are proposed to avoid just One Unseen Mind behind the universe which scientism must deny at all costs. One might be reminded of Ockham’s razor at this point.

    The interesting thing is this: evolutionary theory predates quantum mechanics, and modern physicists (and biologists) do not see a multiverse as necessary for life. Ridiculously long odds against the appearance of life suggest that we do not understand the natural processes which created a universe in which life could emerge, not that we must appeal to the supernatural for an explanation.

    I’m reminded of how most scientists believed our solar system must be unique, or nearly so, in the universe because the then then-dominant theory of planet formation involved two stars passing close enough to each other to rip out chunks of matter from both — a fantastically unlikely event. Yet we now know that quite a few planets exist outside our solar system, and even some multi-planet systems. Scientists were persuaded to abandon the earlier theory by by evidence, not appeals to Bronze Age supernaturalism. Creationists, to whom the latter must be the base upon which all science is built, can’t really change their ideas; the most they can do is tinker around the edges to make those ideas look a little less absurd.

  32. Let’s consider an example of playing cards.
    Suppose that you are dealt a royal flush in 5 cards. How are you going to explain this?
    Witout ging into the calculations, we all agree that “just a matter of chance” is not a very good explanation.
    How about suggesting that the deck that it was being dealt from was not the standard 52-card deck, but that someone salted the deck with a bunch of Uno cards. Does that make it more probable that you would be dealt a royal flush. I say that it is less probable, and therefore it is a bad explanation.
    OK, so how about explaining how something in life is highly unlikely to hapen by chance. What if we assume that something which is capable f doing more things than physics and chemistry? I say that that tells us that is like adding the Uno cards. It is less likely, it is a worse explanation.

    It is the wrong way to attack the problem to appeal to the supernatural.
    Nomatter how bad the odds are that the natural accounts for soeting, it is worse to appeal to the supernatural.

  33. FrankB My sensus divinitatis has atrophied in favor of my sensus bullsh*tatis.