Category Archives: Intelligent Design

The Professor of Engineering Design

Everybody knows that creationists rely on the God of the gaps, about which Wikipedia says: “God of the gaps is a type of theological perspective in which gaps in scientific knowledge are taken to be evidence or proof of God’s existence.”

As Albert Einstein said in Science and Religion:

To be sure, the doctrine of a personal God interfering with the natural events could never be refuted, in the real sense, by science, for this doctrine can always take refuge in those domains in which scientific knowledge has not yet been able to set foot.

It seems that creationists are getting tired of always hearing about God of the gaps. But aside from denying that they use it — to the extent they can — what else can they do? We have a surprising response from the creation scientists at Answers in Genesis (AIG), the creationist ministry of Ken Ham (ol’ Hambo) — the Australian entrepreneur who has become the ayatollah of Appalachia, famed for the infamous, mind-boggling Creation Museum.

This amazing essay appears at the AIG website: Evolution (Not Creation) Is a God of the Gaps. BWAHAHAHAHAHA! They don’t use God of the gaps; we do!

It was written by Stuart Burgess, who they say is a professor of engineering design at the University of Bristol in the UK. We checked. Yes, he’s on their faculty. Here are some excerpts from his AIG article, with bold font added by us, and scripture references omitted:

Atheists have often accused Christians of invoking God to fill in a gap in scientific knowledge. Even the great scientist Isaac Newton has been accused by atheists of using a god-of-the-gaps explanation when he said that the universe reveals evidence of design. But creationists like Newton do not believe in a god of gaps, but a God of absolute necessity. Newton recognized that the universe could not exist without the supernatural creative power of an almighty Creator.

Oh, if a gap is plugged by “a God of absolute necessity,” then it’s okay. Then he says:

Newton and most of the other founding fathers of science could see that the universe can only be fully explained with a combination of natural and supernatural explanations. Creationists only invoke God in origins when a supernatural action is necessary according to the laws of science. For example, according to the conservation of matter and energy (the first law of thermodynamics), it is impossible for a universe to come into existence without the supernatural intervention of an all-powerful being.

See? It’s okay to “invoke God in origins when a supernatural action is necessary according to the laws of science.” But of course, that shouldn’t be done merely for theological convenience — it requires a clear and convincing demonstration of necessity. Here’s the professor’s demonstration of that necessity:

The Bible is scientifically correct when it states that divine supernatural power is required to create the universe and life and different kinds of creatures. The Bible is also scientifically accurate that divine supernatural power is required to uphold all things. Rather than being accused of superstition, the Bible should be commended for correctly identifying the areas of origins where a supernatural Creator is necessary.

Convinced yet? No problem. Let’s read on:

Creationists are sometimes accused of ignoring scientific evidence and being anti-science. But belief in God in no way diminishes zeal for how life works. … Biblical creationists are always eager to learn from real scientific discoveries in every area of science. I personally have designed rockets and spacecraft for the European Space Agency and NASA using the latest scientific knowledge in physics and engineering. … The only “science” that creationists do not use is the speculative science of evolution that has nothing to do with useful operational science. Evolutionary ideas like “monkey-to-man charts” that supposedly chart human evolution are based on pure speculation and not useful to science and technology in any way.

Creationists also reject geology, but as with evolution, you don’t need geology to build spacecraft. They reject lots of astronomy too — everything that tells us how old the universe is — but you can build a rocket that goes to the Moon without knowing old the Moon is or where it came from. Nevertheless, it’s troubling to think that spacecraft are being designed by creationists. The professor of engineering design continues:

Ironically, it is actually evolution that is blatantly guilty of god-of-the-gaps explanations. [BWAHAHAHAHAHA!] When secular biology books attempt to explain why creatures or plants have a certain design, the answer is almost always “evolution did it” or “natural selection did it” without any explanation as to how the design feature could evolve by chance.

Uh huh. No explanation. Ever. On the other hand, creationists are always exquisitely precise in detailing every little step involved in divine creation. Here’s more:

Ironically, it is evolutionists, not creationists, who are guilty of ignoring scientific evidence. Over the last 70 years there have been many thousands of experiments with sophisticated equipment trying to create life in the laboratory from dead matter and energy. However, all of these experiments have clearly demonstrated that life cannot come about by chance. Evolutionists have a choice. Either they accept the laboratory experiments or ignore them and put faith in the god of evolution. They have chosen to ignore the evidence and exercise blind faith in chance.

Aaaargh!! Yes, life hasn’t been created in the lab — not yet. But only creationists imagine that it can’t be done — and they somehow “knew” that from the beginning, no lab work required. Moving along:

Evolutionary philosophy holds back scientific progress by seeking false evolutionary explanations of origins. If you refuse to believe that a jumbo jet was designed, it will affect the way you investigate the complexity of the aircraft.

Aaaargh!! Another excerpt:

When Darwin published his Origin of Species more than 150 years ago, one of the problems with his theory was that there was a missing link between man and apes. That missing link is still missing today despite extensive searches for fossil evidence of evolution all over the world. … As with every other aspect of evolution, the evolutionist ignores the gaps and encourages everyone to put their faith in the god of evolution.

The missing link! Aaaargh!! Skipping an ark-load we find this:

In modern society, a scientist is not allowed to say “God did it” for any aspect of creation, whether it is ultimate origins or the origin of any detailed design feature. The phrase “God did it” is seen as anti-scientific. But if God is the author of creation, then He deserves acknowledgement and credit for His work. And if God is the author of creation, then scientific investigation can only be helped by recognizing God as Creator.

Hey — he’s got a point. If God actually did it, then it’s no fallacy to say so.

We’re quitting here, but had to leave out a lot. Go ahead and read it all. It’s possible that you’ll end up agreeing with the professor of engineering design.

Copyright © 2015. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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Discovery Institute: The Miracle of Phototropism

Intelligent Design

Intelligent Design

We have often noted that the Discovery Institute’s “theory” of intelligent design rests on two pillars. One is William Paley’s watchmaker analogy. That’s their “design inference,” which they have elaborated with undefinable terms such as “specified complexity.” Like Paley, they know design when they see it.

Their other pillar is God of the gaps, about which Wikipedia says: “God of the gaps is a type of theological perspective in which gaps in scientific knowledge are taken to be evidence or proof of God’s existence.” Those gaps in our scientific knowledge are the Discoveroids’ “evidence” allegedly supporting their “theory.” And that’s the reason for the pic above this post, from the Sidney Harris cartoon.

Today at the Discoveroids’ creationist blog they’re babbling about another gap. The title of their new post is Darwin, Design, and Phototropism. Their magical designer — blessed be he! — is now alleged to be responsible for Phototropism, about which Wikipedia says:

Phototropism is one of the many plant tropisms or movements which respond to external stimuli. Growth towards a light source is called positive phototropism, while growth away from light is called negative phototropism.

Here’s what the Discoveroids say, with bold font added by us:

The first exposure to scientific experimentationfor many a precocious youngster is putting a bean seedling in a box, poking a hole to let some light in, and watching the seedling grow toward the light even after it is turned around. The study of this phenomenon, called phototropism, has a long history — but questions remain.

Oooooooooooooh — questions remain! They discuss a book by Darwin, The Power of Movement in Plants, about which they say:

Progress has been made [since Darwin’s 1880 book], but recent advances show more of the “molecular complexity” of the phenomenon. Which theory — intelligent design or unguided natural selection — best explains it?

A profound question! Can phototropism be “best” explained by natural causes, or by Oogity Boogity? Then, like hard-core creationists, they declare:

The right question, though, is not about forces and methods. It should be whether naturalism is true. Do “natural forces… account for all botanical adaptations”?

Obviously, the Discoveroids feel that natural forces are inadequate. Were it otherwise, their intelligent designer would be out of a job. And if the designer goes on welfare, the Discoveroids would be right there in line with him. So they selectively quote from a recent article on the subject in Current Biology:

Plants are sedentary organisms that depend on sunlight for photosynthesis. Consequently, they have evolved the ability to alter their growth to optimise light capture and increase photosynthetic productivity. [Bold font added by the Discoveroids.]

Gasp, that’s an outrage! The Discoveroids declare:

We see this “argument by assertion” frequently in papers. Darwinists say this-or-that “has evolved,” then spend the bulk of their time describing the operation of the phenomenon, not its origin. That’s the case here.

Sleazy, low-life Darwinists! They can’t fool the Discoveroids. You can be certain that the Discoveroids would never claim “by assertion” that something is designed. Well, there’s the universe, and DNA, and the phyla emerging from the Cambrian, and a number of other things, but they aren’t making naked assertions about design. They know those things are designed. Oh yeah! Let’s read on:

Where has the Darwinian approach provided understanding? It’s been a fool’s errand. It started out being mysterious, and it’s still mysterious. All the investigative activity — admirable as it is — has been a distraction from the real question: can natural forces account for phototropism?

[*Curmudgeon swoons*] By golly — those Discoveroids are great! We’re skipping to the last paragraph:

In our uniform experience the only “force” or cause that can create functional systems at this level of complexity is intelligence. Intelligence can create information and impress it on matter, making it do things that unguided natural forces cannot (think: airplanes). Intelligence, further, cannot be reduced to the four fundamental forces of nature. So by both negative arguments (the inadequacy of material forces) and positive arguments (our uniformity of experience with complex systems), we can affirm that intelligent agency does “account for” the phenomenon of phototropism. To the Darwinians, after 135 years of trying, it’s still “largely mysterious.”

Did you get that? The Discoveroids “affirm” that phototropism is explained by an “intelligent agency,” and not by natural forces. No “argument by assertion” there!

Copyright © 2015. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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Waste Disposal on Noah’s Ark — Solved!

Archimedes' screw

The last time we addressed this issue was Waste Disposal on Noah’s Ark. In that memorable post, we compared the task facing Noah with one of the legendary twelve labours of Hercules — cleaning out the Augean stables, which had not been cleaned in over 30 years, and over 1,000 cattle lived there. Hercules had to divert two rivers to clean out the stables. With rigorous mathematical analysis, we concluded that mucking out the Ark was only half as burdensome as the job assigned to Hercules, but it was still an impossible task.

Today, dear reader, you’re in for a treat. After years of solitary study, your Curmudgeon proudly announces that he has solved the Ark’s waste disposal problem! Yes, we’ve done it. Through the centuries, the greatest theological minds in the world have struggled with this, but your humble Curmudgeon has found the solution.

Well, what is it? As the image above this post suggests, the answer is Archimedes’ screw. Wikipedia provides a description:

Archimedes’ screw consists of a screw (a helical surface surrounding a central cylindrical shaft) inside a hollow pipe. The screw is turned usually by a windmill or by manual labour. As the shaft turns, the bottom end scoops up a volume of water. This water will slide up in the spiral tube, until it finally pours out from the top of the tube and feeds the irrigation systems. The screw was used mostly for draining water out of mines or other areas of low lying water.

The intellectual breakthrough came to us in a blinding flash of inspiration. If Archimedes’ screw works with water, it should also work with fresh animal waste. Assuming the device was installed when the Ark was built, all Noah had to do was turn the handle, and the muck would be lifted from the bowels of the Ark to the top deck, and then automatically dumped over the side. Nothing to it! It was so simple, Noah probably assigned the task to his wife.

Yes, we know — you’re thinking that Archimedes lived in the 3rd century BC — long after the Flood. That’s true, but as the Wikipedia article informs us, Archimedes probably didn’t invent the device which bears his name. It was known to earlier cultures.

So there you are. The problem of poop removal from the Ark has baffled creation scientists for centuries, but your Curmudgeon has figured it out. We have solved one of the world’s greatest mysteries, and you’re reading about it here, on our humble blog. Verily, this is a day to remember.

But there’s no need to worry — we still have the rest of our Top Ten Reasons Noah’s Flood is Mythology.

Copyright © 2015. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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Ken Ham in the Australian Press

This comes from the website News.com.au, which doesn’t further identify itself, but it seems to be the online presence of several Australian newspapers. Wikipedia says it’s an Australian news and entertainment website owned by News Corp Australia, which is one of Australia’s largest media companies. That’s all we know, but it’s enough.

Their headline is Creationist preacher Ken Ham to ‘prove’ dinosaurs roamed with Adam and Eve. It has a comments feature, and most of the comments are rational. Here are some excerpts from the news story, with bold font added by us:

Outspoken creationist Ken Ham is once again raising the hackles of scientists, claiming he is on the verge of proving dinosaurs were roaming the earth only a few thousand years ago.

It’s good to see that the press on the underside of the Earth is proudly tracking the career of their native son, Ken Ham (ol’ Hambo). As you know he’s the Australian entrepreneur who has become the ayatollah of Appalachia, famed for his creationist ministry, Answers in Genesis (AIG) and for the mind-boggling Creation Museum.

Then they tell us:

The former Queensland science teacher, who took on celebrated American scientist Bill Nye in a notorious public debate on creationism last year, who opened the $40m Creation Museum in America and is currently building a Noah’s ark in Kentucky, says he will soon unveil evidence that dinosaurs once lived peacefully alongside Adam and Eve.

Everyone knew that Bill Nye shouldn’t have agreed to that debate. Other than Hambo’s silly roadside tourist attractions, it’s his only claim to fame. Let’s read on:

Together with creation scientist Dr. David Menton, Mr Ham says he will soon publish findings that he suggests will be world-changing — and dispel current evidence that dinosaurs roamed the earth over 65 million years ago.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! What are their “findings,” and in what peer-reviewed journal will they be published? The news story continues:

It is understood Mr Ham will claim that a bunch of donated Edmontosaurus bones are only a few thousand years old, based on the fact that they still contain remnants of bone marrow. Soft tissue surviving in dinosaur bones isn’t an entirely new idea — a Tyrannosaurus Rex bone with soft tissue still present was discovered a decade ago.

This is an old story, debunked long ago. Nevertheless, Hambo has been promoting it for years — see Dinosaur Fossils Found with Hot Red Meat? Here’s more:

Ken Ham routinely dismisses findings of palaeontologists, geologists, and other scientists who look at evidence to determine what Earth must have been like before recorded history. Mr Ham has asserted that scientists cannot claim to have proof of their theories if they weren’t there at the time to observe those theories in action.

Ol’ Hambo is forever sneering at what he calls “historical science,” by asking Were you there? He claims that only eye-witness testimony — the kind he finds in the bible — is reliable. We discuss that under the section “Operational” science vs. “Historical” (origins) science in Common Creationist Claims Confuted. Moving along:

Bafflingly, in a new post on the pro-creationism website Answers In Genesis, Ken Ham now asserts that Dr. David Menton can indeed look at fossilised dinosaur bones and determine things that happened before either of them was born — as long as it supports his own ideas.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Even the Australian press can readily see the absurdity of Hambo’s arguments. Maybe they’re not so proud of their native son. We looked, but couldn’t find the article at Hambo’s website that they’re talking about. It doesn’t matter. We already know what it says and why it’s wrong. But Hambo’s drooling fans will gobble it up anyway. Here’s the rest of the article:

Tens of thousands of creationists flock to Mr Ham’s hi-tech Hollywood-style Creation Museum in Kentucky each year where they can see animatronic Adam and Eves interacting with a peaceful looking T.Rex, among other attractions.

Yes, the creationists are traveling the back roads of rural Kentucky to drink from Hambo’s magical fountain of drool. It’s not the yellow-brick road to Oz, but the wizard at the destination is just as authentic.

Copyright © 2015. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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