How Discoveroids Should Debate Design Skeptics

This one isn’t very long, but it’s amusing. We found it at the Discovery Institute’s creationist blog, and it’s titled How to Discuss Intelligent Design with Skeptics. It could easily have been titled “How does a drooling creationist pretend to have something to say?” Anyway, 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 ID the Future episode [Ooooooooooooh! A Discoveroid podcast!], Tom Gilson — author, senior editor with The Stream, and occasional contributor to Evolution News — tackles the question of how best to discuss intelligent design with friends and associates skeptical of ID. Download the podcast or listen to it here. [Link omitted!]

The Stream sounds like something that occurs in the bathroom, but it’s a website that sometimes publishes Discoveroid articles. Gilson writes articles that appear in both places. We’ve encountered him before — see The Ultimate Discoveroid Blog Post, and we referred to his post as “a multisyllabic blast of pseudo-scientific flatulence.”

Fortunately, the Discoveroid post isn’t very long, so it’ll be tolerable to get through it. The Discoveroids say:

There is so much misinformation about the theory of intelligent design that many well-intended people reject not the actual theory but a silly caricature, a straw man.

We’re being accused of presenting you with “a silly caricature, a straw man” instead of the actual theory of intelligent design. Maybe that’s true. The Discoveroids tell us:

They don’t realize that ID is not an argument from ignorance but an inference to the best explanation based on positive evidence for design and negative evidence against competing materialistic explanations.

Ooooooooooooh! The Discoveroids’ “theory” is based on evidence for design and against evolution. Have we been avoiding those “truths”? Let’s find out. The Discoveroid post continues:

It involves what is known as abductive reasoning, a standard mode of reasoning in the historical sciences.

Ooooooooooooh! That sounds impressive. Wikipedia has an article on Abductive reasoning, which says:

It starts with an observation or set of observations and then seeks to find the simplest and most likely conclusion from the observations. This process, unlike deductive reasoning, yields a plausible conclusion but does not positively verify it. Abductive conclusions are thus qualified as having a remnant of uncertainty or doubt, which is expressed in retreat terms such as “best available” or “most likely”.

Very impressive! Indeed, the creationists’ favorite argument — God of the gaps — can be seen as an example of abductive reasoning. Let’s return to the Discoveroids’ post. This is all they have left to say:

When in conversation with someone who understands none of this [A Darwinist fool!], Gilson suggests using the Socratic method and, in particular, three questions designed to turn down the heat, promote dialogue, and draw the other person into a discovery of the actual theory of intelligent design.

Ah yes, the Socratic method, described by Wikipedia as:

… a form of cooperative argumentative dialogue between individuals, based on asking and answering questions to stimulate critical thinking and to draw out ideas and underlying presuppositions.

The Discoveroids’ recommended technique may be fine for arguing certain exotic political theories, but perhaps you noted that after all their blather, there was no recommendation of the Scientific method, which involves observation, skepticism, and rigorous testing of hypotheses. Why, dear reader, do you think that was avoided?

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5 responses to “How Discoveroids Should Debate Design Skeptics

  1. What were the three questions?

  2. You gotta watch their video.

  3. Is there a Theory of Intelligent Design?
    What is known about design that relates to the stuff that is the subject of explanation?
    For example, what is there about design that makes for an explanation of
    of what changes in DNA are designed to result in the structure of the eye that enables sight?
    For example, what is there about design that makes for an explanation of how DNA makes life possible?
    For example, … explains how a universe comes from nothing?

  4. First question: What is ID?
    There is an explanation which is better than naturalistic evolution.
    Second question: Where did you get that answer?
    From sources, starting with Philip
    Johnson, through several authors.
    Third question: Where should you learn about ID?
    The ordinary source would be from those who support it. Unfortunately, it turns out that there is silence as to what that alternative (let alone “better”) theory is. For example, what is “design”.

  5. docbill1351

    (TomS auditions as a writer for Saturday Night Live.)

    “Is there a Theory of Intelligent Design?”

    (Lorne Michaels doubles over in laughter, tears streaming down his face! The entire Saturday Night Live cast is rolling around on the floor laughing uncontrollably, holding their ribs!)

    Gasping, Lorne manages to say, “You’re hired, TomS, hired! But, you gotta town down the comedy or you’ll kill off our audience!”

    (Later on the phone, Lorne: Costume? We need a Gerbil suit for Kenan. Yeah, that’s right, and make it an Attack Gerbil.)