Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Are IDiots Creationists?

 
I have complained about misuse of the term "Darwinism" by the Intelligent Design Creationists. They seem to be unable to grasp the fact that not all evolutionary biologists are Darwinists.

Having complained about that, it's only fair to consider their complaint that not all Intelligent Design advocates are Creationists. Casey Luskin raises the issue today on the Discovery Institute website [Another Way to Defeat the ID = Creationism MemeM].
Darwinian logic often contends that because a given proportion of ID proponents are creationists, ID must therefore be creationism. It's a twist on the genetic fallacy, one I like to call the Darwinist "Genesis Genetic Argument." As noted, it implies that each any and every argument made by a creationist must be equivalent to arguing for full-blooded creationism. This fallacious argument is easy to defeat on logical grounds by pointing out that some ID proponents are not creationists, and in fact have been persuaded to support ID in the absence of religion. Thus something other than creationism or religion must be fundamental to the set of views underlying ID (big hint: it's the scientific data indicating real design in nature)!
First off, it's ridiculous to pretend that some IDiots view the intelligent designer as anyone other than God. While I've no doubt that they might dig someone like this out of the woodwork, the fact remains that 99.999% of all intelligent design advocates see God as the designer. The term "creationist" refers to someone who postulates a role for a Creator (i.e., God) in creating life. Any IDiot who says they were persuaded to support intelligent design in the absence of belief in a Creator is, well, an idiot. But I repeat myself.

Second, there is no scientific data to indicate real design in nature. In fact, there's plenty of evidence to suggest a lack of "design" in much of nature (e.g., junk DNA). (Admittedly, many evolutionists are reluctant to accept this evidence.) The entire Intelligent Design Creationist movement is dedicated to disproving evolution. That's the extent of their "data." You don't become an Intelligent Design Creationist just because you've been brainwashed into rejecting evolution. You become an Intelligent Design Creationist because you've been brainwashed to believe in a Creator God and that, in turn, leads to the rejection of the other alternative, evolution.

There are many different kinds of creationist. They include Young Earth Creationists, Old Earth Creationists, and Theistic Evolutionists. The Theistic Evolutionists restrict the role of the Creator to setting up natural laws and then operating mostly within these natural laws to guide evolution. The Intelligent Design Creationists are a special group of creationists who argue against evolution and who claim (falsely) to have discovered evidence for supernatural creation (i.e., intelligent design). It is quite legitimate to refer to them as Intelligent Design Creationists because it distinguishes their form of creationism from the other forms of creationism.

Robert Pennock discusses this in his anthology Intelligent Design Creationism and Its Critics.
Dembski chides me for never using the term "intelligent design" without conjoining it to "creationism." He implies (though never explicitly asserts) that he and others in his movement are not creationists and that it is incorrect to discuss them in such terms, suggesting that doing so is merely a rhetorical ploy to "rally the troops." Am I (and the many others who see Dembski's movement in the same way) misrepresenting their position? The basic notion of creationism is the rejection of biological evolution in favor of special creation, where the latter is understood to be supernatural. Beyond this there is considerable variability. Some creationists think the world is young while a fewer number accept that it is ancient.
Pennock then goes on to show that Dembski is a creationist and so are most (all?) of his followers.

In spite of Luskin's whining (and Dembski's) it is quite appropriate to refer to Intelligent Design Creationism since the advocates of this superstitious nonsense are creationists by definition.

16 comments :

  1. This fallacious argument is easy to defeat on logical grounds by pointing out that some ID proponents are not creationists, and in fact have been persuaded to support ID in the absence of religion.


    Are there any actual examples of this? DaveScot's pretense of agnosticism has never been convincing. David Berlinski is on record as saying "I have never endorsed intelligent design."(1) [Stanley] Salthe said he did not find intelligent design to be a compelling theory, either. "From my point of view," he said, "it's a plague on both your houses."(2) So where are the examples of anyone supporting ID "in the absence of religion"?


    1) Knight-Rider article, Sept. 27, 2005

    2) NYTimes, Feb 21, 2006

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  2. Of course there are examples. Rael and his ufo sect, for instance, are passionate atheists but they believe in extraterrestrial intelligente design.
    Maybe they should consider collaborating with the discovery institute on some human clonations and such XDDD

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  3. So if the Intelligent Designer turns out to be Barry Bonds, does it matter that he is not God (well, he might be, except that he might be using chemical enhancement)? If one believes that life was created by Barry (or any other Designer), doesn't that make one a Creationist? Perhaps the problem is that maybe Bonds only drew up the blueprints, but did not know how to turn his idea into a working product.

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  4. Are there any actual examples of [ID proponents who are not religious-creationists]?

    Astronomer and SF author Sir Frederick Hoyle, who happens to be an atheist. Together with equally oddball astronomer-mathematician Chandra Wickramasinghe, Hoyle developed a weird theory known as panspermia. Basically panspermia is Intelligent Design by a natural Designer instead of a supernatural one.

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  5. Your number 99.999% presumes there are at least 100,000 ID proponents, which I doubt... :) But I think the examples of Hoyle and Rael are irrelevant (even if they were true). They are not the ID proponents that we hear about all the time.

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  6. Astronomer and SF author Sir Frederick Hoyle, who happens to be an atheist.

    Hoyle died in 2001, and is still dead.

    Hoyle developed a weird theory known as panspermia. Basically panspermia is Intelligent Design by a natural Designer instead of a supernatural one.

    Hoyle and Wickramasinghe's book Lifecloud promoted the idea of undirected panspermia - life on Earth came from space. This position is not equivalent to ID. It is possible that he promoted other forms of panspermia elsewhere.

    Francis Crick wrote a book, Life Itself on the idea of directed panspermia. This was before the discovery of catalytic RNA, and before the RNA World theory took off. To quote Wikipedia, "After ribozymes were discovered, Crick became much less interested in panspermia because it was then much easier to imagine the pre-biotic origins of life as being made possible by some set of simple self-replicating polymers." Crick's dabbling in panspermia is generally not regarded as among his greatest accomplishments.

    Fred Hoyle was quite imaginative, and operated frequently outside his area of expertise. He was involved in a claim that Archaeopteryx fossils were fraudulent, for example. Then there was his stupendously stupid "tornado in a junkyard" analogy.

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  7. http://www.panspermia.org

    Please go there, the guy who said that panspermia suggests a living designer: untrue.

    Do you really think scientist would solve a problem that way? You got to be really ignorant of science to think that scientists would create some loop to avoid figuring out how life came to exist without suggesting God. Panspermia, if I'm not mistaken, hold that life did not come to exist on earth primarily but in space instead. Another commenter here elaborates this.

    Although Fred Hoyle did come up with some nonsense, such as the probability of a single protein forming or something, he was an atheist. Correct me if I'm wrong here.

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  8. If there's all this "scientific data" indicating "design in nature," where are all the IDiots' peer-reviewed papers? Why didn't they advance any of this evidence in Dover?

    Same bullshit, different day over at the DI, I see.

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  9. I thought I remembered Hoyle talking specifically about a designer, but perhaps not. However, I would suggest that panspermia does require an intelligent designer, whether or not he ever explicitly said so.

    Hoyle argued that natural evolution was impossible, because an unintelligent process like evolution couldn't create new genetic data. He further said that life on any given planet advanced only when new genetic material arrived from space, in one way or another. It's not hard to see that this doesn't solve the problem of "where does the new genetic data come from?"; it only transplants it. You either get stuck in an infinite loop, or you have to postulate that somewhere in the dim mists of time, an intelligent agent somehow started the whole ball rolling.

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  10. He further said that life on any given planet advanced only when new genetic material arrived from space, in one way or another. It's not hard to see that this doesn't solve the problem of "where does the new genetic data come from?"; it only transplants it.

    Yes, which points out the idiocy of the sort of panspermia proposed by Hoyle's collaborator Wickramasinghe during the SARS scare a few years ago. He suggested that SARS was a virus from space. That it just happened to have a sequence similar to existing Earth-bound viruses, and fall to Earth in a region where a similar virus infected wild animals, would require an awful lot of explanation.

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  11. anonymous wrote: "You got to be really ignorant of science to think that scientists would create some loop to avoid figuring out how life came to exist without suggesting God. Panspermia, if I'm not mistaken, hold that life did not come to exist on earth primarily but in space instead."

    As noted by other commenters, this is merely a change of venue rather than a solution. However, Hoyle actually did propose a scientific solution, one that I haven't seen mentioned yet. Hoyle avoided the loop by positing that an entity or entities capable of design have always existed. This was possible only because Hoyle held the notion of a steady state universe, i.e., no Big Bang.

    As more details of the cosmic microwave background radiation have emerged over the years, steady state theories have become progressively less likely, until at this point it is fair to call them scientifically untenable. Thus steady state theories should not be considered to provide scientific alternatives to the necessity for evolution.

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  12. I believe this article is redicu lous...first of all how is sandwalk going to call creationists idiots? We merely have a difference in opinion!
    The bible, prophets, and everyday miracles lead me to believe there is a Divine Wonder out there who created us. If there is no God, no creater, then we are merely an accident with not purpose or value. In that case it doesnt matter if we do wrong, it doesn't matter if we die because our existance happened by chance and we are only an unimportant, unnoticed life that evolved from a monkey.
    NO! i dont choose to call myself a monkey! I was created by the Divine Christ, Father of the World. He still intervienes in our everyday activity...God, infact is your creator.
    :]

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  13. Anonymous says,

    If there is no God, no creater, then we are merely an accident with not purpose or value. In that case it doesnt matter if we do wrong, it doesn't matter if we die because our existance happened by chance and we are only an unimportant, unnoticed life that evolved from a monkey.

    Thank-you for proving my point.

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  14. 'We merely have a difference in opinion!'

    That's laughable! Evolution is not an opinion!

    People may be entitiled to their own 'opinions'. No one is entitiled to their own FACTS!

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  15. Greetings my children. I am the Lord Thy GOD. I have taken time from my busy schedule to set the record straight. First of all, the scientists are correct...I did not create you. You evolved. And though it is true that you did not evolve from a "monkey", you do share a common ancestor with that monkey. You crazy kids just need to face the fact that evolution is a Fact and that Intelligent Design is really just good-old-fashioned Baptist-style creationism with a new coat of paint on it. What's more is that I was actually created by MAN. That's right...I was conjured up out of pure Homo-Sapien imagination to explain scary things like death & thunder and to make people feel better when they got a raw deal in life by spinning promises of a magical candy-land called heaven where you would be rewarded after death. So, how did life begin? Search me...Like I said, you people created me. Frankly, I'm too busy to really worry about it. So why don't you ID proponents just relax and maybe take a science course or two and try to bone-up on your critical thinking skills. Anyhooz, I need to get back to work...I'm busy preparing HELL for stupid people who refuse to believe the evidence of their own senses and support stupid ideas like Intelligent Design. See you kids on Judgement Day!

    Much Love,
    The Lord Thy GOD

    P.S.
    Darwin sits at my right hand.

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  16. Creationists are FANATICS. Plain and simple.

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