The Discovery Institute Responds

The Discovery Institute has responded to a post of mine. In it, I accused the typical proponents of Intelligent Design of dishonesty when they assert that one cannot find out about the designer by studying the design. Read the response: You be the judge.

In his response to my post, Casey Luskin calls the question of the designer’s identity a “strictly theological question”. Don’t miss the significance of that: theological. The designer is God, theos being the Greek word for God. Earlier in the piece he claims that the identity of the designer could be anyone (even the fictional character of Yoda from Star Wars – now how would that be a serious option? – or Buddha – showing his ignorance of Buddhism). But his slip shows the truth. The designer is God, because that is the only sense in which it is possible for the designer’s identity to be a theological question.

I won’t quibble over whether the reasons why ID doesn’t identify the designer are ‘principled’. At the very least, the principle in question is not honesty. Can anyone really claim I’m wrong about this, when the discrepancy between their official position and the things they let slip are so obvious?

My main point in the earlier post that is referred to was simply this: In the sciences, when effects are observed, causes are sought. Evidence of water flow over the course of long periods of time eroding rock and carrying sediment elsewhere. Evidence of human creation. Evidence of fire. When an effect is observed, a scenario that can explain the cause is the natural thing for scientists to formulate.

Why doesn’t Intelligent Design do that? I think it is because that line of reasoning doesn’t lead where they want it to lead. They want people to follow the argument to a particular point, but no further. Just that far raises questions to which particular sorts of religious answers can then be offered. But if you follow the evidence trail further, you see all the things that led Darwin to formulate his theory in the first place – evidence that the things that seem designed also seem cobbled together from already-existing forms, for instance. I still say it is a ploy, an attempt to use scientific-sounding language for religious ends. If one listens to data from the sciences, one should do so in a comprehensive way, not merely in a limited fashion to piece together an apologetic argument. The sort of argument they end up with, cobbled together from misused scientific language and hidden theological assumptions, ends up looking about as intelligently designed as the biological organisms scientsts study.

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