Intelligent Design’s Design Flaw

Intelligent Design, that nebulous concept that supporters think will remove evolution from the classroom, is useless.  It’s also got even bigger problems than that (if that’s possible).

You see, one of the things that ID proponents don’t do (among things like research, experiments, and the like) is think about the implications of their own notions.  ID proponents try to keep things very simple for the poor people they are deluding.  But some of us, take the next logical step and that’s where ID runs into real trouble.

Never mind that ID proponents can’t even agree on what was done or when it was done.  Never mind that there is no evidence for any thing that they claim.  Just one simple question and one simple (relatively) logical statement shows the utter uselessness that is ID.

First, let’s talk about the question.  It’s the question that drives them, that shows their notions to be useless.  You know the question…

Can ID distinguish between design and non-design? 

In other words, can it even do what it claims to be able to do?  Indeed ID must be able to do this or there is no point to it at all.  I’ve said this before and since then, I’ve challenged no less than five pro-ID supporters to show that they can distinguish between design and non-design.  None have even acknowledged the question.  [Note that these challenges take place on open forums as compared to the heavily moderated pro-ID forums.  Those forums are well-known for deleting and banning anyone who questions ID, much less presents a challenge that cannot be answered by ID, so I don’t present them there.  Any Pro-ID people are welcome to request the challenge from me and I will post it this blog and any responses to the challenge in this blog as well.]

My challenge is very simple.  In fact, it is so simple that one wonders why ID proponents haven’t undertaken it themselves in an effort to support their own notions.  It’s the least that any competent scientists would do.

The challenge is thus: I have provided a sequence of about 975 nucleotides that are known to be designed (because a human designed them).  In addition, I have provided a sequence of random nucleotides of approximately the same length.  It would be child’s play to modify this to proteins or RNA or even just strings of numbers.  The two sequences are presented side-by-side (depending on the forum).  Can ID proponents distinguish between the two? 

So far, none have even bothered to try.

I maintain that it is impossible to distinguish between the two.  Even doing a frequency count will not help because the distribution of nucleotides varies between organisms.  Without knowing the organism in question and the normal distribution of nucleotide frequencies, it would be impossible to even determine which is which based on that.

Problems Bigger than Just Detecting Design

Now, here’s the real kicker.  Even if they could determine which sequence was designed, even if they could determine whether any sequence was designed or random, there is no reason, intrinsic to the method, that would prevent evolution from being the ‘designer’.

In other words, the ID proponents have shot themselves in the foot.  By explicitly rejecting a specific designer, with specific tendencies that could be searched for, the ID proponents have no method for restricting design to intelligence.

Since I have previously shown that design can come about without intelligence, ID proponents cannot logically exclude evolution from design activities.

Of course, that’s what they actually want.  They want evolution out and God in, but since it’s effectively illegal for them to say that, they try to skirt the issue with ‘an intelligent designer’.  Unfortunately, the ‘intelligent’ part of ‘intelligent design’ does not logically proceed from the ‘design’ part.

So, what’s a poor ID minion supposed to do? 

Well, this shows that even if they could detect design (which they can’t), they still can’t rule out evolution.  So the Intelligent Design proponent must discuss the designer.  They must agree on a designer, at least in principle, and find positive supporting evidence that such a designer exists.  Then they can explore the logical abilities of that designer and see if they match what we see in the real world.  If not, then they must reject that designer and find another one.

 This will be surprisingly difficult.  ID proponents often refuse to discuss the designer or even engage with other ID proponents about the nature of the designer.  In one particular discussion thread, there are two ID proponents.  One insists that the designer is a material organism of this universe, while the other insists that the designer created this universe and everything in it.  Obviously, these are mutually exclusive designers.  Yet they refuse to discuss the issue with each other and instead require scientists and rational thinkers to refute BOTH designers.

 No ID proponent has ever suggested more than one designer (that I am aware of).  This would be the best solution for them, but it would interfere with the monotheistic God that they know is the real designer (wink, wink).

 Obviously, they will not do this.  Therefore, ID proponents have no interest in even talking about their notion, just in getting rid of evolution and promoting a specific religion, which was the point all along (wink, wink).

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23 Responses to Intelligent Design’s Design Flaw

  1. Naon Tiotami says:

    Haha, genius bit of work with the nucleotide sequence test. Very nice.

    *subscribes*

  2. Joe G says:

    Intelligent Design, that nebulous concept that supporters think will remove evolution from the classroom

    Liar. ID is not anti-evolution.

    Never mind that ID proponents can’t even agree on what was done or when it was done.

    Evotards can’t agree on what was done or when it was done. They don’t even know if it could be done.

    Yes IDist and others can and have distinguished non-design from design. OTOH your position just sez “not design no matter what”.

  3. ogremkv says:

    Joe, that is your only warning. You will not call anyone (especially me) a liar on my blog without proof. I have read Dembski, Behe, Meyer and Wells’ books. They do not present positive evidence for ID. They only present things that they think evolution cannot do. And, I’m sorry Joe, but despite what YOU think, the leading proponents of Intelligent Design have all publicly stated that ID is based on Judeo-Christian religion.

    If IDists and others have distinguished design from non-design in an experimentally valid way (i.e. blind or double-blind test) then I have not found it in almost 15 years of looking for it. So, where is it?

    Remember Joe, this is NOT about evolution or evolutionary scientists. You can rant about them on other posts or threads. This post is specifically about Intelligent Design and what it claims to do, but I say cannot do. Any attack on evolution here is a red herring.

  4. Joe G says:

    You don’t know what ID claims. That is the problem.

    Not one leading IDists has claimed ID is based on any religion. Quite the contrary.

    So whatever Ogre, carry on with your pap…

  5. ogremkv says:

    Just an FYI for new readers, I’ve been dealing with JoeG for quite a while. If you can, read this thread <a href="http://www.antievolution.org/cgi-bin/ikonboard/ikonboard.cgi?s=4d7263210bc5d24a;act=ST;f=14;t=6647&quot; title="The JoeG Thread at After the Bar Closes").

    I freely admit that AtBC is a different environment than I'm fostering here, but I have no control at AtBC either.

    Hey Joe, be sure to check out the upcoming post…

  6. Joe G says:

    I’ll check out your posts Ogre- you have yet to produce any evidence for anything you have posted so far and I am sure the next post will be more of the same

  7. David Kellogg says:

    Nice challenge: it’s not surprising that nobody has taken it up. Joe, why don’t you take up the challenge or explain why it’s not a good challenge? The whole point of the explanatory filter is that it can distinguish design from non-design. Why isn’t this a good test of such a model?

  8. Joe G says:

    How is that a valid challenge?

    I am sure it is valid to those ignorant of ID. However I am sure that not one evolutionist can determine which sequence evolved via blind watchmaker type processes and which was designed. But that is because blind watchmaker type processes have never been observed to string together 975 nuleotides- never, no evidence for it.

    So that alone is a problem…

  9. Joe G says:

    No ID proponent has ever suggested more than one designer (that I am aware of).

    I have and others have also. But ID is NOT about the designer.

    Is the theory of evolution about the origin of life? No.

    Each has its limits.

  10. ogremkv says:

    But Joe, if ID isn’t about the designer, then the designer can be evolution.

    Of course, if ID isn’t about the designer (intelligence) and it isn’t about the design… then what is it?

    Again, we are NOT talking about evolution here.

    BTW: New post is up. Just for you Joe.

  11. David Kellogg says:

    Joe, make sure you understand the challenge. It’s not between a human-designed sequence and an naturally occurring sequence. That would be an unfair challenge, since ID views both as designed. This is a challenge to distinguish between a human-designed sequence and a deliberately randomized sequence (correct me if I’m wrong, ogremkv).

    ID should be able to distinguish those. You should. Dembski should. The Explanatory Filter (TM) should make it easy! But you can’t, because ID can’t.

  12. ogremkv says:

    That’s it exactly David. Intelligent Design says it can tell what was designed and what wasn’t.

    Even if everything in the universe was designed, then ID should still be able to tell the difference between anything and a purely random sequence. They can’t.

  13. Joe G says:

    Ogre:

    But Joe, if ID isn’t about the designer, then the designer can be evolution.

    What is that supposed to mean?

    Ogre:

    Of course, if ID isn’t about the designer (intelligence) and it isn’t about the design… then what is it?

    Intelligent Design is the study of patterns in nature that are best explained as the result of intelligence.

    — William A. Dembski

    There is plenty of ID FAQs around if you look.

  14. Joe G says:

    David,

    The “challenge” is bogus.

    This is a challenge to distinguish between a human-designed sequence and a deliberately randomized sequence.

    That has nothing to do with anything ID claims.

    ID claims, as does forensics, SETI and archaeology, to be able to differentiate between nature, operating freely, ie blind, undirected processes abd design, ie agency involvement was required.

    ID should be able to distinguish those.

    But it doesn’t have anything to do with anything ID claims.

  15. Joe G says:

    Ogre:

    Intelligent Design says it can tell what was designed and what wasn’t.

    ID claims that we can differentiate between nature, operating freely and agency activity. And guess what? We can and do.

    The point is YOU can use the EF to refute ID as the EF gives YOUR POSITION the first whacks at solving the event in question. Only after you have failed to make a positive case for your position does the design inference even enter into consideration.

    What is wrong with you guys? Don’t you understand how to conduct an investigation?

  16. David Kellogg says:

    Joe,

    The EF never references “nature.” It claims to distinguish chance, necessity, and design. All the challenge asks is to distinguish two of these three: the designed sequence from the sequence determined by chance. And nothing in ID can do even that.

    All this “nature, operating freely” stuff is your language, not ID’s. (Well, it’s probably used by your BFF, ID Guy.)

  17. ogremkv says:

    What is wrong with you guys? Don’t you understand how to conduct an investigation?

    Yes, I do. So why don’t ID proponents do this?

    If they do, please link to it or give me a cite.

  18. Joe G says:

    David Kellogg- nature, operating freely is chance and necessity and Del Ratzsch said it in “Nature, Design and Science”. You have serious issues dude.

    Also you couldn’t show that any sequence of 975 nucleotides arose by chance nor necessity. So the challenge is nonsense.

  19. Joe G says:

    What is wrong with you guys? Don’t you understand how to conduct an investigation?

    Yes, I do.

    All evidence to the contrary. And taht you think your challenge is valid tells me you are out to lunch- permanently.

  20. Joe G says:

    Counterflow:

    Del Ratzsch presents this term in his writing on design in Nature, Design and Science. Counterflow refers to things running contrary to what, in the relevant sense, would (or might) have resulted or occurred had nature operated freely. When agents redirect, restrain or constrain nature, they leave counterflow marks. Ratzsch goes on to say that counterflow can be injected into initial states, processes, or results (p.7). Counterflow is important in identifying agent activity in a given structure.

    Del Ratzsch distinguishes between primary and secondary counterflow marks. Primary counterflow characteristics can be found in the following ways (pp.10-11):

    Parts vs. Systems: Individual components of the system may exhibit counterflow, or it may be only as a whole system that counterflow can be identified in a particular structure.

    Surface vs. Deep: There may be obvious counterflow properties, or more subtle and complicated properties, such as medium-run sequence probabilities.

    Direct vs. Indirect: Recognition can be immediate or more inferential

    Synchronic vs. Diachronic: Counterflow can be evident over time (diachronically) or all at once (synchronically)

    Hard vs. Soft: Soft counterflow recognition required knowledge of relevant valuations. Hard required only familiarity with nature’s normal flow.

    Secondary marks of counterflow include: Complicated development, complex structures, coordination of components, adjustment of means to end, interlocking functions, extreme improbability, purposelike behaviors, and others (p.12).

  21. Joe G says:

    Ogre:

    Even if everything in the universe was designed, then ID should still be able to tell the difference between anything and a purely random sequence.

    By that logic everyone that claims to be able to detect design should be able to do so. And if they can’t, then their whole field is bogus.

    I love how you just make stuff up and then claim ID should be able to do something about it. That is why no one has taken you up on your “challenge”. A meaningless challenge from an anonymous loser.

  22. Pingback: 2011 Texas Intelligent Design Bill – HB 2454 | Cassandra's Tears

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