Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Jonathan McLatchie explains the difference between intelligent design and creationism

This is a video from One Minute Apologist. Really, I'm not kidding. There actually is a man called Bobby Conway who is the One Minute Apologist.

He became a devout Christian when he was 19 and subsequently went off to Bible school then got a Doctorate of Ministry in Apologetics from Southern Evangelical Seminary. He's now a Ph.D. candidate in the Philosophy of Religion department at the University of Birmingham (UK). I'd love to be on his thesis committee but I'm not a philosopher. Maybe they'll invite John Wilkins to serve as external reviewer at the thesis defense?

The theme of his videos and website is ...
We provide quick, credible answers to apologetic questions that resource people with a hunger to defend their Christian faith.

Here's an interview with Jonathan McLatchie where McLatchie tires to pretend that ID is a legitimate scientific investigation that has nothing to do with creationism. Keep in mind that he's doing this while being interviewed by a Christian Pastor in a Christian apologetics video. Watch the video, it's only one minute.


There are some ID proponents who attempt to do what Jonathan McLatchie describes. The most notable is Bill Dembski who claims to have developed a method to distinguish things that are designed from things that arose naturally. His schtick is information theory and computer science. Nobody believes that Bill Dembski can actually tell whether bacterial flagella were designed or evolved and his arguments have been thoroughly dissected and refuted by experts in the field of information science.

Nevertheless, the attempt, such as it was, was a real attempt to do science. It turned out to be bad science.

The main ID effort has always focused on disproving or disparaging evolution and not on proving design. Some of this attempt to discredit evolution is real science and it overlaps to some extent with legitimate scientists who are critical of some aspects of biological evolution.

Given the evidence we have of the behavior of ID proponents over the last twenty years, there's no way you can possibly characterize the main activities of ID the way Jonathan McLatchie describes them. 99% of ID activities are attacks on evolution. Just look at their popular books: Darwin on Trial, The Edge of Evolution, The Myth of Junk DNA, Darwin's Doubt, Signature in the Cell, Icons of Evolution, etc. The focus is not on advancing a positive case for detecting design. It's on showing that evolution can't happen and scientists are wrong.

Jonathan McLatchie shows us what apologetics is all about. It's about trying to apologize and find excuses for irrational behavior. You do this by pretending that your real motives and beliefs are very different from the ones that everybody sees.

Intelligent design includes activities that count as science1 but Intelligent Design (upper case) is not a scientific discipline, it's a movement. It's a movement led by the Discovery Institute in Seattle, Washington (USA) and funded by rich Christians. It's a movement where all the main proponents are religious men and women who believe in a creator god.2. They are creationists. Some of them are Young Earth Creationists.

The main goal of the movement is to provide scientific justification for the belief in a creator god. No amount of twisting and turning (apologetics) is going to fool us into thinking that the ID movement has nothing to do with the belief in a creator. The entire movement is just another version of creationism and all you have to do is look on the main ID blogs and websites to see that this is true. That's why we refer, correctly, to the movement as Intelligent Design Creationism.

Here's the mission philosophy of the Discovery Institure ...
Mind, not matter, is the source and crown of creation, the wellspring of human achievement. Conceived by the ancient Hebrews, Greeks and Christians, and elaborated in the American Founding, Western culture has encouraged creativity, enabled discovery and upheld the uniqueness and dignity of human beings.

Linking religious, political, and economic liberty, the Judeo-Christian culture has established the rule of law, codified respect for human rights and conceived constitutional democracy. It has engendered development of science and technology, as well as economic creativity and innovation.

In contrast, the contemporary materialistic worldview denies the intrinsic dignity and freedom of human beings and enfeebles scientific creativity and technological innovation. Its vision of a closing circle of human possibilities on a planet of limited horizons summons instead the deadening ideologies of scarcity, conflict, mutual suspicion and despair.
They oppose "materialism" and favor gods and creationism. It's a joke to think that their mission is all about mounting a scientific case for intelligent design when they begin with the premise that a supernatural designer already exists.

This lie started off being funny a few decades ago when the movement was created but it's past being amusing. Now it's just a bald-faced lie to claim that Intelligent Design Creationists are motivated by a genuine scientific search for evidence of design. They are motivated by the desire to discredit materialistic science and defend their belief in creator gods.

I respect Jonathan McLatchie. He knows a lot about molecular biology and evolution and he's no fan of Young Earth Creationism. I suspect he has fallen in to the trap of deceiving himself about his true motives.


1. Many of the topics in their books are worth discussing and from time to time they make valid scientific points. I'm talking about motive here.

2. With the possible exception of David Berlinski who says he's a secular Jew but really doesn't know what he is.

24 comments :

  1. "Keep in mind that he's doing this while being interviewed by a Christian Pastor in a Christian apologetics video."

    There seems to be something in the nature of religious thinking that destroys that level of self awareness. It's kind of fascinating.

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    1. Hi Larry
      "Nevertheless, the attempt, such as it was, was a real attempt to do science. It turned out to be bad science." When you say, "bad science" do you mean that his work does not stand up to competent peer review or that his methods are faulty?

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    2. "Keep in mind that he's doing this while being interviewed by a Christian Pastor in a Christian apologetics video."

      Not only that, the stated point of the series is to interview apologists. He's calling McClatchie an apologist right up front.

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    3. Apologetics - "We know we're wrong, but we're going to argue our side anyways."

      Delete
    4. John Harshman says: "the stated point of the series is to interview apologists. He's calling McClatchie an apologist right up front."

      Ah ha ha ha ha ah.

      Drop the mic, Johnnie, and walk away.

      Delete
    5. Matt G:

      Apologetics algorithm:

      1. Find desired conclusion.

      2. Make up bullshit premise to support desired conclusion.

      3. Find a word with more than one meaning, which has one meaning in premise and a different meaning in desired conclusion, so you can pretend that premise is logically connected to conclusion.

      4. Go to church basement and tell them what you did in reverse order, starting with bullshit premise, pretending that you got that by neutral disinterested means, silently flip meaning of the words you're equivocating, and ending by proving the conclusion you started out with.

      Delete
  2. Hi John
    I agree competent peer review should cover faulty methods. Is that what you think bad science means? Any thing else?

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    1. It seems to me that "faulty methods" covers everything that could be wrong with a paper: how you collect data, how you analyze it, how you interpret the results. Is there something else?

      Delete
    2. Thanks John, that makes sense...Larry uses the term bad science a lot re creationist hypothesis. Just wanted to make sure I understood what he meant.

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    3. Bill, Larry often uses "bad science" to mean a hypothesis that makes predictions that turn out to not match observations, thus falsifying the hypothesis.

      I often disagree with him as to which parts of creationism are bad science and which are pseudoscience. I see creationism as a Frankenstein stitched together from both.

      Delete
  3. Is it possible that MacLatchie is actually " Quest " some of you accused me of being as a sock puppet of? I noticed that his interviews or his blog always mentions "quest". Isn't that a sign or is it a random effect?

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  4. Given the evidence we have of the behavior of ID proponents over the last twenty years, there's no way you can possibly characterize the main activities of ID the way Jonathan McLatchie describes them. 99% of ID activities are attacks on evolution. Just look at their popular books: Darwin on Trial, The Edge of Evolution, The Myth of Junk DNA, Darwin's Doubt, Signature in the Cell, Icons of Evolution, etc. The focus is not on advancing a positive case for detecting design. It's on showing that evolution can't happen and scientists are wrong.

    That's what it is all about: There is no eveidence of ID or a designer, ID makes no positive claims, the entire argument of ID boils down to "Evolution is false, therefore ID." They sincerely wish ID to be true, or else...

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    1. There is plenty of evidence for ID and a designer. ID makes many positive claims. Your ignorance is not a refutation. Also ID is OK with evolution. ID argues against undirected/ blind watchmaker evolution. And if you could find some evidence in support of that ID would fail.

      However your position doesn't make any positive claims. All you chumps can do is rail against ID as if that will help your case.

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    2. Joe "Security Clearance" Gallien says: "ID makes many positive claims.

      Yes, and all of them turned out to be false! Ha ha ha! How'd that "all the peppered moths were dead and pinned to trees" work out for ya? How about "ENCODE proved 80% of the genome is functional"? How about "the centriole is a tiny turbine that makes spindles vibrate during mitosis, explaining the cause of cancer"?

      "ID argues against undirected/ blind watchmaker evolution. And if you could find some evidence in support of that ID would fail."

      Oh, so ID is just God of the Gaps after all. Never mind.

      Delete
  5. What is the science behind evolutionism, Larry? What is the evidence to support natural selection and drift producing the diversity of life? How can it be modeled and tested?

    Do tell or stuff a sock in it already. Criticizing ID with your ignorance will not provide support for your position's claims.

    Also, larry, science mandates that all design inferences first eliminate necessity and chance explanations first- that is how Newton said science is done. It is the reasoning behind Occam's razor and parsimony. So yes, ID is mandated to show that evolutionism is incorrect. However evos do that by not providing any testable entailments for their claims.

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    1. Which of these is intelligently designed, and how does the theory of intelligent design demonstrate that?:

      1. Eubalaena australis
      2. A diamond
      3. Plasmodium falciparum
      4. Hapuna Beach, Hawaii

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    2. Jesus tapdancing Christ, Joe Gallien with his Newton lie again! A while back he claimed this fake quote from Newton and I demanded 500 times that he cough up the Newton quote, and he wouldn't!

      " science mandates that all design inferences first eliminate necessity and chance explanations first- that is how Newton said science is done"

      Bullshit. Dembski "mandates" that, "science" mandates no such goddamn thing. You're trying to set up your God of the Gaps as the default hypothesis so that, when you fake a "failure of evolution", your God of the Gaps will win by default. The scientific method does not "mandate" that God of the Gaps be the default. Dembski tried to sneak it in through what he called his "Explanatory Filter."

      But again we have Joe Gallien lying about the Newton quote that I already asked for 500 times. Forget it, the Newton quote doesn't exist and no ID proponent will present it because Intelligent Design is a fraud.

      Delete
  6. Now it's just a bald-faced lie to claim that evolutionary materialists are motivated by a genuine scientific search for evidence for evolutionism, abiogenesis and any other of their nonsensical claims.

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    1. Don't be so much of an idiot Joe. The only reason I've got into this field is because I have genuine curiosity as to how these things happened. I know there's lots and lots and lots of open questions, and I am happy to figure out answers even if for but a few of them. However, I don't consider your fantasies because it's obvious that they are fantasies. I would consider gods as much as I would consider Harry Potter for my research, and for the very same reasons.

      Now go to school or shut up. You're arrogant display of imbecility contributes nothing to any discussions.

      Delete
  7. I'm gonna translate this Discovery Institute mission statement, which reveals their real religion, the American $%%&ing dollar. Especially for our non-American readers, I'm going to translate their philosophy from Republican into English.

    Linking religious, political, and economic liberty,

    "Economic liberty" = cut taxes on the rich. If you are a billionaire, push the DI's "Donate" button here.

    "the Judeo-Christian culture...has engendered development of science and technology, as well as economic creativity and innovation."

    = Christianity made you rich and will keep you rich, and as a huge $$%^ing bonus, it keeps the proletariats from banding together to take your stuff. If you are a billionaire, push the DI's "Donate" button here.

    the contemporary materialistic worldview denies the intrinsic dignity and freedom of human beings

    Translation: science takes no positions on shit we can't even define, and science, unlike religion, does not pretend to answer questions it can't answer. This must be demonized,, so we'll say "materialism" (= scientific method) "denies human dignity". Link to Darwin caused the Holocaust.

    and enfeebles scientific creativity and technological innovation.

    Says a Christian faith tank that never made a single scientifically creative discovery and never produced a single technological innovation, and which copied all its best hoaxes and frauds from 100 years of the creationist literature farted out by religiously-fanatical scientific failures in fake lab coats, like George M. Price, Henry Morris and A. E. Wilder-Smith, not one of whom ever made a single scientifically creative discovery or ever produced a single technological innovation.

    Its vision of a closing circle of human possibilities on a planet of limited horizons summons instead the deadening ideologies of scarcity, conflict, mutual suspicion and despair.

    "They spread mutual suspicion and despair!!!" warns the party of racists and xenophobes and queer-haters who believe every conceivable conspiracy theory: that Obama is a Muslim atheist born in Kenya, that Obama will seize their guns (so buy more guns while you still can! More guns! More!), and the American government will invade America (!) using the long-established Jade Helm military exercises in Texas as a pretense to grab your guns, imprison Christians in FEMA camps, and force you to have gay sex.

    Yeah, if you're against people who "spread mutual suspicion and despair!!!" then you really want to join the $%^&ing Republican Party, whose current frontrunner for the Presidency says Mexicans are rapists who bring crime and "terrible diseases", and whose #2 candidate is a creationist knucklehead who says that Satan authorized the theory of evolution, and that a Muslim can't be president because Sharia. No "mutual suspicion and despair" in that $%^&ing party!

    "Western culture has encouraged creativity, enabled discovery and upheld the uniqueness and dignity of human beings" say Christian fanatics who use Intelligent Design arguments to say gay people must never be allowed to get married and must be discriminated against, because gays getting married is against "human dignity"!

    This has been your Diogenes rant for the day.

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