Is intelligent design a plausible theory?

This is the third time that I have suggested in various threads that I would be willing to discuss intelligent design, but not with anyone who hasn’t read an authoritative book advancing the idea, such as Michael Behe’s Darwin’s Black Box, or William Dembski’s Intelligent Design, as opposed to a book that is written to debunk ID. Trying to debunk Dembski or Behe without reading their books is like trying to debunk Darwin without having read his.

Until such an atheist comes forward, I’m going to assume there is no atheist at Catholic Answers who knows what he is talking about when he debunks ID based on the uninformed and backward looking arguments of Richard Dawkins, whose naturalism and scientism is clearly bogged down in the nineteenth century euphoria over atheistic evolution.

So what I am asking atheists to do is explain precisely what intelligent design is, and why it is wrong. Atheists musn’t be content to cite the arguments of ID’s critics. They must go to the root source and be able and willing to cite page and paragraph from Behe and/or Dembski. Until we have proof that any atheist at Catholic Answers knows what he is talking about, as opposed to aping Dawkins, why should ID advocates talk to him?

A second question implied by the first is whether, if there is any biological or mathematical foundation for ID, should that foundation be suggested in biology textbooks as a factor in the first appearance of life and in the subsequent stages of evolution? This question probably should not be discussed until after extensive discussion of the pros and cons of ID. Let’s all agree to that, please.

Thank you.
**

Inteligent Design is a gap theory. It is from a long line of ideas that put God in gaps in human knowledge or understanding.

This is theologically ludicrous because by creation Gods atributes can be clearly seen and God has made himself known.

God does not hide in the gaps within human knowledge.

Inteligent design states that because things are to complicated to happen on their own there must have been a ‘higher power’ that inteligently designed them.

The problem with this is that the ‘highrer power’ does not necessarily have to be The God of The Bible if a god at all.

The ‘higher power’ can be anything.

Also, as Inteligent Design is a gap theory it does not disprove evolution but rather fills in the gaps and as a result it does not prove that Genesis 1-3 are acurate accounts.

Any gap theory is unscientific because science is about discovering what is not known by deduction.

As much that is not explained now will be explained as human knowledge increases the gaps will get smaller until the idea will backfire.

Inteligent Design is both unscientific and theologically not Christain

East Anglican

Have you read the ID advocates? Which ones? Which books?

Yes and I have spoken to many who have fallen for it too.

It’s a new version of the pre-adamic race theory which claimed dinosours existed before God made Adam and that demons are spirits of the people of the pre-adamic race.

Of course that is nonsense.

I would also suggest that you work with Dembski’s version of ID. He is the only one that has laid out the ID program for all to see, both in terms of its theory and also in terms of its philosophical underpinnings. Much useless spinning of wheels should be avoided thereby.

East Anglican: Dembski has responded to the God of the Gaps charge and laid it to rest. Read his Design Revolution.

cordially

Note to EA: A lot of what flies under the banner of ID is a bunch of hooey. But Demmski deserves to be taken seriously. So does Behe.

Uh, having read both, more than once now, there’s nothing in either that qualifies as a theory. If you can cite “chapter and verse” for the Scientific Theory of Intelligent Design, then I stand to be corrected. Be forewarned, though that I’m not fooled by bombast and naked conjecture being advanced as a scientific theory. I will ask:

  • What are the natural explanations for natural phenomena being advanced?
  • Are the entities, concepts and processes invoked formally declared, and compatible with the witness of the rest of science?
  • What novel predictions does it make that distinguish it from other theories, predictions that naturally and necessarily proceed from this theory?
  • What evidence or tests would falsify the theory, discrediting it?

My understanding, after many years of going over Behe and Dembski, is that it’s a confused question to ask if ID is a plausibly theory, if by “theory” you mean a scientific theory. It’s not a scientific theory being advanced in either case, so it’s not plausible or implausible, it’s not a theory at all. If, on the other hand, you mean, “conjecture” in an informal sense, well, anything’s possible, and there’s not much more to say than that.

Until such an atheist comes forward, I’m going to assume there is no atheist at Catholic Answers who knows what he is talking about when he debunks ID based on the uninformed and backward looking arguments of Richard Dawkins, whose naturalism and scientism is clearly bogged down in the nineteenth century euphoria over atheistic evolution.

Again, this sounds like you are wearing some really thick rose-colored glasses. The resistance obtains from straightfoward application of scientific epistemology – the scientific method is not upheld by ID. The scientific method is the problem, especially in Dembski’s, view, constrained as it is to methodological naturalism. Anyway, here’s some “chapter and verse” from Behe at the Dover trial, showing, now under oath (oh, if we could only have these guys under oath more), how scientific his explanations are:

[quote= Behe at Dover Trial]Q. So this is back to the claim that you say intelligent design makes, “Intelligent design theory focuses exclusively on the proposed mechanism of how complex biological structures arose.” Please describe the mechanism that intelligent design proposes for how complex biological structures arose.
A. Well, the word “mechanism” can be used in many ways. In this I was – and when I was referring to intelligent design, I meant that we can perceive that in the process by which a complex biological structure arose, we can infer that intelligence was involved in it’s origin. . . .
Q Back to my original question. What is the mechanism that intelligent design proposes?
A And I wonder, could – am I permitted to know what I replied to your question the first time?
Q I don’t think I got a reply, so I’m asking you, you ve made this claim here, “Intelligent design theory focuses exclusively on the proposed mechanism of how complex biological structures arose.” And I want to know what is the mechanism that intelligent design proposes for how complex biological structures arose?
A Again, it does not propose a mechanism in the sense of a step-by-step description of how those structures arose. But it can infer that in the mechanism, in the process by which these structures arose, an intelligent cause was involved.
Q But it does not propose an actual mechanism?
A Again, the word “mechanism” – the word “mechanism” can be used broadly, but no, I would not say that there was a mechanism. I would say we have an aspect of the history of the structure.
Q So when you wrote in your report that “Intelligent design theory focuses exclusively on the proposed mechanism,” you actually meant to say intelligent design says nothing about the mechanism of how complex biological structures arose.
A No, I certainly didn’t mean to say that. I meant to say what I said in response to that last question, that while we don’t know a step-by-step description of how something arose, nonetheless we can infer some very important facts about what was involved in the process, namely, that intelligence was involved in the process. . . .
Q Could you look at page 179 of your deposition.
A Yes.
Q I asked you, "What is the proposed mechanism of how complex biological structures arose according to intelligent design theory?"
A Yes.
Q And you answered, "Intelligent design does not propose a mechanism, it simply tries to support the conclusion that intelligent activity was involved in producing the structures."
A Yes. And that language, I think, is completely consistent with what I was trying to say here today, that it does not tell you step by step how something was proposed – or how something was produced, but nonetheless it says something very very important about the origin of the structure, and that is that intelligent activity was involved in producing it.
Q And then further down the page at line 24 I asked you, “In terms of the mechanism, it’s just a criticism of Darwinian evolution’s mechanism and not a positive description of a mechanism.” And what did you answer, Professor Behe?
A I said “that’s correct.” But again, I think this is completely consistent with what I just said. Again, it does not propose a step-by-step description, but it – but it proposes or it accounts for some very important features of what was involved in it’s origin, and that is intelligent activity. (Behe testimony, Kitzmiller v Dover, 2005)

[/quote]

-Touchstone

East Anglican
*
Yes and I have spoken to many who have fallen for it too.*

O.K., which authors and which books?

Touchstone

Anyone who knows Behe knows that the answers he gave are completely consistent with his notion of intelligent design. He never contradicts himself, though it might be said that he is clarifying what he had said earlier.

So what are you so exultant about? You prove nothing against Behe or ID by citing this passage.

You have to do a whole lot better than this.

REBUT!

You might begin by summarizing what you think is Behe’s essential argument (what pages or chapter in Darwin’s Black Box? So that others who are interested may be able to follow and verify for themselves whether you have any rational rebuttal to offer rather than the questions posed by a hostile interrogator.

Also, may I suggest that you make your posts a little shorter? You tend to wax eloquent on too many issues all at once to satisfy my tired old head.

Thank you.

Evolution is the greatest “gap theory” that the world has ever known…

Did you read the quote I provided. Have you read the Dover transcript? Where Behe declaims any “mechanism” but instead advocates jumping to a “conclusion” about intelligent agency somewhere up the causal chain, there you find the poverty of ID. Science identifies processes and mechanisms (that’s the “explanation” in “natural explanations for natural phenomena”). Behe’s admission here is really damaging to the claims that ID is scientifically positive. It is certainly well established that ID has a lot of criticisms of modern evolutionary theory, and that’s good and well. Many ID criticisms of MET are well taken by mainstream science. But that’s critiquing of other theories, rather than proposing one of your own.

ID proposes no mechanisms that I’m aware of, and that’s a devastating aspect of ID as a proponent of scientific theory, if so.

You have to do a whole lot better than this.

REBUT!

No need. Behe says there’s no mechanisms being advanced, so case closed in terms of apositive theory. He can criticize MET all he wants, but in terms of advancing scientific theories of his own, there’s nothing to rebut.

You might begin by summarizing what you think is Behe’s essential argument (what pages or chapter in Darwin’s Black Box? So that others who are interested may be able to follow and verify for themselves whether you have any rational rebuttal to offer rather than the questions posed by a hostile interrogator.

Well, a summary of *Darwins’ Black Box *is suggested in the book’s subtitle: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution. Behe contends that the biological diversity we see around is so complex that MET just can’t explain it all. Not now, not ever.

Here’s a paragraph from the bottom of page 24, and the top of page 25 in my copy of *Darwin’s Black Box, *Chapter 1 – “Lilliputian Biology”:

Note the negative disposition assigned to the book by Mr. Behe’s words here, just as in the subtitle. It’s not a scientific theory he’s advancing, but a critique of MET he’s offering. That’s fine, but when he goes on to discuss irreducible complexity, for example, it’s an attempt to refute MET, not advance any mechanism or alternative/superior scientific framework.

Also, may I suggest that you make your posts a little shorter? You tend to wax eloquent on too many issues all at once to satisfy my tired old head.

Thank you.

No, it’s difficult to do this topic justice given the limitations we have in place here. This is not a topic that is amenable to ‘argument by summary’, or statement of intuition. The devil, as it were, is in the details. And Behe’s book is a really good example. The more carefully you look, the more rigorous one is in examining what he is saying, the more foolish and pretentious (scientifically) it becomes.

That’s easy to say, but takes some work to substantiate. Lots of points and details to consider.

Again, I ask that if anyone here can supply Behe’s “scientific theory” from Darwin’s Black Box, please do so. My contention is that there is none in the book to classify as plausible or implausible. Even if we knock down every example of “irreducible complexity” that Behe wants to point to as step-wise plausible, his idea cannot be falsified; he can just retreat from his failed examples an point to other examples. *Now, how about those systems? Produce a step-wise pathway for those? Oh, you did? OK, well that shows nothing, we have lots of other complex systems for you to document…

*On an on, without end. Discrediting the bacterial flagellum or the clotting subsytem doesn’t even slow Behe down, because his argument isn’t subject to falsification. At worst, he shrugs and admit his examples were poor.

-TS

Touchstone

ID proposes no mechanisms that I’m aware of, and that’s a devastating aspect of ID as a proponent of scientific theory, if so.

It’s not the least bit devastating. No more devastating than the fact that there is no knowable mechanism by which the Big Bang happened, and yet we believe it happened because it is logical that it happened … yet there is no known natural law to account for it… and never will be.

Behe and others offer the same dilemma to the evolutionists: the evolutionists also do not have a mechanism by which to explain, for example as you pointed out, the bacterial flagellum, and yet apparently evolution is supposed to explain it? Evolution does not explain it and beats its head against a hard well pretending it does.

Have to leave now. Will be back later to continue.

Touchstone

That’s fine, but when he goes on to discuss irreducible complexity, for example, it’s an attempt to refute MET, not advance any mechanism or alternative/superior scientific framework.

Do you see examples of intelligent design all around you? Yes or no? (Please don’t elaborate!)

If you see examples of same, can you explain in detail the mechanism by which those intelligent designs are accomplished? Yes or no? (Please don’t elaborate!)

Please give an example of the** mechanism **by which things are intelligently designed. (Please elaborate as much as you like.)

Thank you.

I.D. is nothing more than Creationism dressed up in disguise. That is why I.D. has been so thoroughly discredited and mocked.

Touchstone, Kudos to you, for even entertaining this challenge, as I predict, no matter what evidence you produce, nothing will shake the belief of a Creationist from uttering the words;

God did it, case closed.

Prove it. Or…are you afraid.:rolleyes:

Why?

Yes, all around me, literally.

If you see examples of same, can you explain in detail the mechanism by which those intelligent designs are accomplished? Yes or no? (Please don’t elaborate!)

Yes, if needed.

Please give an example of the** mechanism **by which things are intelligently designed. (Please elaborate as much as you like.)

Thank you.

I’m a software developer (most of the time, anyway), so I design and implement virtual systems for a living. I have a set of constraints (limitations in terms of time, money, talent, tools, etc.) and a set of design goals, and my work involves optimizing the use of my constrained resources for maximal achievement of the design goals.

Design there is inferred based on a match between the putative results of design, matched with the availability/capability of the designer.

-TS

Can you give an example of when the appearance of complex design is an illusion?

What programs do you use.

DNA, so far as we can tell.

-TS

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.