It’s been a few years since we wrote about the Discovery Institute’s Design Filter. The concept was conjured up by William Dembski, so it’s also known as William Dembski’s Design Inference. It’s the means by which the Discoveroids use their “theory” of intelligent design to detect the handiwork of the intelligent designer of the universe — blessed be he! Our all-time favorite example of its application is Mt. Rushmore Is Designed, Therefore ….
The Discoveroids’ only problem is that they really don’t have a design filter. When they see something they already know is the product of design (like Mt. Rushmore), they say it’s designed. When they want something to be the product of design (like DNA), they declare that it is. Otherwise, it isn’t designed. In all their examples, they start with their conclusion and then retrospectively claim that their design filter told them so.
And they have one other problem — the inventor of the filter has bailed out — see William Dembski Is “Moving On”. Perhaps that was because he learned of The Curmudgeon’s Design Detector, and a few months later Curmudgeon Computes Specified Complexity.
Anyway, the Discoveroids have decided to promote their design detector again, so this just appeared at their creationist blog: Answering Critiques of Specification in William Dembski’s Design Filter. It has no author’s by-line. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]:
On a new episode of ID the Future [Ooooooooooooh! A Discoveroid podcast!], host Robert Crowther interviews Eric Holloway, Associate Fellow at the Walter Bradley Center for Natural and Artificial Intelligence, about Holloway’s recent article [link omitted] answering a common criticism of intelligent design theory.
We don’t know who Holloway is and we know nothing about the Bradley Center. But if the Discoveroids are interviewing someone from there, we can pretty much assume it’s a creationist outfit. Oh, wait. Two years ago, Klinghoffer praised Holloway at the Discoveroids’ creationist blog — see Human Computation — A “Practical Application” of Intelligent Design. Next — as expected — the Discoveroids say:
Download the podcast or listen to it here. [Link omitted!]
Okay, that’s out of the way. Now they tell us:
The criticism centers on William Dembski’s explanatory filter for detecting design, especially Dembski’s crucial innovation, which was to include specification as the filter’s final step.
Only a fool would criticize Dembski’s filter! The Discoveroids continue:
Critics say specification is an ad hoc addition, conjured up by ID theorists for no good reason except to prop up ID theory. No one else uses it, they say.
No one else uses Dembski’s filter? Could that be true? Let’s read on:
They’re wrong, says Holloway. Dembski accurately formalized a filter we use so often that we’re like fish in the sea. We are unaware of it because it’s ubiquitous.
We assume they meant to say it’s like a fish being unaware of water. Anyway, the Discoveroids’ post ends with this:
To prove his point, Holloway comes armed with powerful examples from information theory, communication theory, and cryptography.
Wowie — we’re impressed! How about you, dear reader?
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