Intelligent Design and Memorial Day

In the US, tomorrow is Memorial Day. That means this is a three-day holiday weekend, which helps to explain why we can’t find any news about The Controversy between evolution and creationism. But somehow, the Discovery Institute has managed to connect the holiday to their “scientific theory” of intelligent design.

At their creationist blog we find This Memorial Day Weekend, Consider Putting Design and Human Dignity into Action. It was written by Sarah Chaffee, whom we call “Savvy Sarah.” This is her bio page at the Discoveroids’ website. Here are some excerpts from her blog post, with bold font added by us for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]:

Human exceptionalism and intelligent design bear witness that we are indeed a “privileged species” — as biologist Michael Denton [a Discoveroid “senior fellow”] puts it. The universe was woven with us in mind. [Ooooooooooooh!]

The Discoveroids were wildly promoting Denton last year — see Denton’s Book Proves Everything, so if he says the universe was “woven” with us in mind, you know it’s The Truth. Savvy Sarah informs us:

This is not a statement of species chauvinism. [Of course not.] It’s a call to action, since privilege brings responsibility with it.

What’s she saying? We were intelligently designed, so that gives us responsibilities? Okay, and now she’s going to instruct us in our duties:

Memorial Day weekend is a time for reflection, not only about the war dead. Allow me to share with you a cause that’s important to me. [Oh, goodie!] Some of the weakest in society suffer due to no fault of their own. Children are especially vulnerable, and kids living in homes where adults are addicted to drugs or alcohol, or are abusive or neglectful often suffer damaging trauma.

What does this have to do with creationism? And what about kids raised by creationist parents who are being home schooled with creationist text books? Somehow, she never mentions them. What she does is discuss a meeting she attended with some parents of disabled children. We’re skipping that.

Finally, she gets around to creationism:

The intrinsic dignity we believe each person possesses leads us to reject the “survival of the fittest” [Groan!] and instead to care for and strengthen our most vulnerable brothers and sisters.

No one objects to helping people. What we do object to is the Discoveroids’ claim that Darwin and his theory of evolution oppose such activities. Darwin never opposed charitable activity, and he never used the phrase “survival of the fittest.” It was coined by Herbert Spencer — see Banquet at Delmonico’s — Spencer and Social Darwinism.

There’s not much else to the Discoveroids’ post, so we’re leaving them as they wallow in compassion, because that’s the obligation imposed on them by the intelligent designer — blessed be he! — when he wove the universe with us in mind. And you — you wicked Darwinist fool! — you’re running around abusing children, because that’s what Darwinists do.

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

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31 responses to “Intelligent Design and Memorial Day

  1. There is a pair of fallacies, the Fallacy of Compositon and DIvision. They depend on confusion between what is true of an indiividual and of a group.
    For example, to infer that atoms of a diamond are hard because a diamond is hard; or that because the people of Egypt are all less than 150 years old, Egypt is less than 150 years old.

    A standard belief of monotheism is that each of us is a creature of God and that we stand in unique relationship with our Creator and Redeemer. It is a fallacy to equate that with a beief about any population.

    In the 18th century, there was a widespread denial of reproduction. Rather, there was the belief, called Preformationism, that each individual pre-existed in their ancestors. (IBTW, they constructed many of the arguents whch are used today against evolution. See the Wikipedia article on Irreducible Complexity for one example.)

  2. Michael Fugate

    The old is/ought problem. Science can’t tell you what to do. Given that we have no idea how gods act or what they want, even if we were created by them, theism can’t either. Only humans can decide how to treat each other – historically Christians have been great role models.

  3. “No one objects to helping people.”
    Better still – evolution perfectly explains why Homo Sapiens does. Has been known since long. Just google Kropotkin Mutual Aid.
    In all kind of circumstances helping people increases the chances of getting offspring – theirs and yours.

  4. Eric Lipps

    Human exceptionalism and intelligent design bear witness that we are indeed a “privileged species” — as biologist Michael Denton [a Discoveroid “senior fellow”] puts it. The universe was woven with us in mind.

    Bullsh**t. As I’ve pointed out before, not even Genesis supports that. The biblical creation tale has mankind as God’s afterthought, something to improve a creation with which He was dissatisfied.

    Sorry for mangling the quote on my first attempt.

  5. Sarah distorts both Memorial Day and science. Sad.

  6. docbill1351

    Woven? I thought the Universe was knitted which is why it’s too big and one arm is longer than the other.

  7. Charles Deetz ;)

    Sarah never addressing why there are disabled people, and how that fits in ID.

  8. Woven, knitted, designed, whatever, they are all inept metaphors for the actions of the omnipotent. God does not take account of the laws of nature. A designer is presented with things which beg for change. A designer then thinks about ways that change an be effected. That doesn’t make any sense when talking about God. How could it be that there is something which is not to God’s command? What rules constrain a desire of God, so that God has to plan what is to happen?

  9. TomS says: “A designer then thinks about ways that change an be effected. That doesn’t make any sense when talking about God.”

    Everyone knows who their “designer” is. But when they started their “movement” they were trying to disguise its religious purpose and pretend that it’s science. They were looking for an expression that their drooling audience would understand, but that they could lie to judges about. So instead of “creator” they chose the word “designer.” Same thing, but they pretend it’s different.

  10. The universe was woven with us in mind.
    A rather presumptuous assertion, but creationists of all flavor claim that it is a truism for their particular sect.

  11. I just came across this, which is falsely, it seems, atttibuted to Einstein:
    A clever person solves a problem. A wise person avoids it.

    I suggest:
    A designer solves problems. A creator does not create problems.

  12. Our dear SC teaches some history of the IDiots:

    “So instead of “creator” they chose the word “designer.” Same thing, but they pretend it’s different.”
    And they were never good at it:

    “The universe was woven with us in mind.”
    Also using the past tense probably is more accurate – “pretended”. Last few years the god-word has popped up again on their sites.

  13. @DavidK: “A rather presumptuous assertion”
    They maintain it’s a conclusion and the result is that IDiocy, like all creacrap is circular reasoning: assume “purposeful mind”, conclude “purposeful mind”. That wouldn’t be so bad if they had their own method, iso being parasitic on scientific articles (is parasitizing actually word? – in Dutch it is).
    Presemptuous it is; it’s the point.

  14. Hans-Richard Grümm

    A designer would still require a maker, to make his designs into actual reality.

  15. @Hans-Richard Grumm
    Yes, so it would seem. But as long as the advocates refuse to tell us what design is, they are insulated from any rebuttal. Maybe design includes making, or maybe it doesn’t.
    I speculate that the 18th century advocates of design were of the upper class, thinking of artisans who made to order for the individual’s needs. The customer had no idea how the watch came to be – indeed, it would be beneath his station to be interested in such lower-class work. All that they would need to know is that the watch needed a designer.

  16. This reminds me of the Dembski dismissal of a request for a “pathetic level of detail.” As a baron would sneer at someone who asked about the fine lacework on his attire.

  17. Amazing that someone would observe a universe 99.99999…% incompatible with human life, and conclude that it was “woven with humans in mind”.

  18. @Hans-RG: “A designer would still require a maker, to make his designs into actual reality.”
    That’s the viewpoint of someone who values clear and umabiguous language. Ie not IDiots and other creationists. Their Grand Old Deisgner (called God by YECers like Ol’Hambo) simply skip the issue and maintain that the designer made all the stuff too (but only when it conveniences them). Like Paley’s Watchmaker. No need to worry about the how etc. – according to all apoligists who are impressed by Paley’s False Watchmaker Analogy.

    @PaulD “Amazing that …..”
    Not really. Feeling special is key for all creacrappers. So much for christian humility.

  19. There are plenty of examples of designs which came to nothing. Leonardo Da Vinci’s notebooks have examples of designs of flying machines which were never built, Rube Goldberg designed fanciful machines, there are architectural competitions which draw many designs, but only one is a winner and even that might never be realized.
    But let’s not forget the other end: Pre-design activity. A design is a solution to a problem. Part of the design process is to understand the problem. Can you imagine an omnipotent, omniscient God being faced with a problem? Were would the problem arise from? Would God find it amusing to pose a riddle to himself, or create a bird and realize that it needs wings that need designing?

  20. docbill1351

    @TomS Well, the Great Designer (blessed be he) should have made me with one arm longer than the other so the sweater fit. That’s all I’m saying!

  21. @Paul D
    But there is more so be said about that.
    If the universe is designed for human life, what then?
    1.Then there is no need for the Earth to be a “privileged planet” for life. The whole universe is designed so that there be human life, so the Earth is not an exception, but just a consequence of that universal design.
    Then the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics, being part of the universal design for human life, is perfectly compatible with life on Earth.
    3.Then there is no Conservation of Special Complex Information that needs to be Intelligently Designed around for life – the universe, including conservation laws, was already designed without need of exceptions to its laws.

  22. @PaulD: I was going to point that out to (largely un-)savvy Sarah, but you beat me to it. My father was an architect, and I’m pretty sure any of his clients would have been pretty unhappy if they could only survive in an insignificant fraction of a building he designed.

  23. @TomS: “There are plenty of examples of designs which came to nothing.”
    Oh well, the Grand Old Designer being omni-everything doesn’t suffer from such problems. Except when He/She/It does. Imperfect design and design that came to nothing also are evidence for this pre-determined conclusion. Everything is. Its advocates must remain “insulated from any rebuttal” at all cost, of course.

    “Can you imagine an omnipotent, omniscient God being faced with a problem?”
    Hell, no. I cannot even imagine an omni-everything god being faced without any probelm. That’s your and my problem – lack of imagination, or as I prefer to call it, with a good old Dutch expression: we’re not very good at sucking stuff out of our big fat thumbs.

    “But there is more so be said about that.”
    May I summarize what follows as “IDiocy is incoherent, inconsistent and ill-defined manure”?

    @PaulD and Abeastwood: worse than a fly landing on the White House, concluding that the building is specially designed and created to provide it with a resting place (I’m plagiarizing Herman Philipse in God in the Age of Science). I should have thought of it before. As a regular I’ve gotten used to it, but creationist vanity is baffling.

  24. @Frank B
    creationist vanity is baffling
    The Dunning-Kruger Effect. That there are cases, that is not surprrrising. What is baffling is that so many people take the cases seriously.
    And I am including those who don’t accept creationism. Why do we bother to argue against manisfestly inconsistent, incoherent nonsense?

  25. Michael Fugate

    Here’s a conundrum, if we are created by a god and we are meant to be monogamous, then why would this god make us such that your average female ovulates 5000 times and your average male produces 500 billion sperm just to have 5 or fewer offspring? No engineer would overdesign that much, would they?

  26. If we know that flight is designed in birds, then we are confident that there are two reasons for flight: to escape predators, and to aid in the hunt for prey. To question our knowledge of the function of flight is to question our knowledge of its design.
    Likewise, sight has at least two functions in animals, as an aid to escape predation and as an aid for predation. (It is also an aid for mating, but the existence of a third function is not to deny that it has the other two functions.)
    Does this tell us that some designs in life are at opposing purposes?
    How about the design of the Laws of Thermodynamics, which, suppsedly, make life difficult? Or the supposed Law of Conservation of Special Complex Information? On the other hand, the Fine Tuning of the basic parameters of nature, are they designed to make like possible?

  27. As it’s a bit quiet on the creationist front I recommend this link if you’re in for some nice Egnorance:

    @TomS: “Why do we bother to argue …..”
    Because shooting fish in a barrel has its own peculiar charms.

  28. “privilege brings responsibility ” for creationists. Privilege to deny climate change and man’s effect on global warming. Privilege to deny established sciences while conspicuously using consumer goods and products that result from applying the lessons learned by established science. Privilege to be willfully ignorant. Privilege to use the Bible to promote ignorance instead of love and forgiveness. Privilege to condemn and ostracize LGBQT people.
    And freedom to block common sense gun safety legislation. Privilege to intentionally fail to understand the scientific method.
    Lots of privilege going on with savvy Sarah’s trolling readership.

  29. MF – that’s some woman you got there! From teaching genetics, my calculation is more like 3-400 ovulations per female lifetime. But it doesn’t change your point 🙂

  30. Michael Fugate

    Did I slip in an extra zero!?

  31. MF – that’s what it looks like to me.