How terrible! Let's see if I can fix the problem.
To start, Vincent Torley says,
Because science is defined by its methodology, any attempt to discredit a field such as Intelligent Design by casting aspersions on the motives of its leading practitioners completely misses the point. No matter what their motives might be, the only question which is germane in this context is: do Intelligent Design researchers follow a proper scientific methodology, and do ID proponents support their arguments by appealing to that methodology? The answer to this question should be obvious to anyone who has read works such as Darwin’s Black Box, The Edge of Evolution, Signature in the Cell and Darwin’s Doubt. Intelligent Design researchers and advocates commonly appeal to empirical probabilities (which can be measured in the laboratory), mathematical calculations (about what chance and/or necessity can accomplish), and abductive reasoning about historical events (such as the Cambrian explosion) which bear the hallmarks of design.Torley has been reading my blog for years so he should know better. I define science as a way of knowing. For this discussion I'm willing to count that as a "methodology." Torley already knows that I agree with him. ID proponents do try to use scientific methodology to to answer questions about biology. They just don't do it very well and their answers are wrong.
In his endeavor to smear the reputation of Intelligent Design as a discipline, Professor Moran commits the genetic fallacy, which can be defined as the attempt to “discredit or support a claim or an argument because of its origin (genesis) when such an appeal to origins is irrelevant” (Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, article Fallacies). Moran tries to discredit the claims of the ID movement by arguing that these claims have their origin in the religious motivations of their leading proponents. However, the appeal to origins is irrelevant because it is methodology, not motivation, which determines what counts as good or bad science.The question that Jonathan McLatchie was trying to answer is, "what is the difference between ID and creationism?" McLatchie described a methodology that one or two ID proponents try to use to identify designed objects. He did not define creationism but the whole point of the question was how to distinguish ID proponents from creationists. Creationists are motivated by their religious belief in creator gods.
Intelligent Design is widely recognized as a movement, not a scientific discipline. I agree with Torley that some of the stuff ID proponents do counts as science, albeit bad science, but when asking whether ID differs from creationism we are entering a different realm, especially when the question is being asked by a pastor on a Christian apologetics podcast. You wouldn't ask that question of a geologist or a chemist, would you? Imagine asking a chemist, "What's the difference between chemistry and creationism?" You ask the question of ID proponents because there is a legitimate reason to wonder if there really is a difference.
In this case, we are clearly talking about the political and social movement where ID takes on materialism and promotes belief in gods as creators. That was the goal of Phillip Johnson when he helped create the movement and that's the goal outlined in the Wedge Strategy. Here are the goals of the movement ...
This is what the Intelligent Design movement is all about and it's indistinguishable from creationism as I define it. Religious motives are a key component of the movement.
- To defeat scientific materialism and its destructive moral, cultural and political legacies.
- To replace materialistic explanations with the theistic understanding that nature and human beings are created by God.
- To see intelligent design theory as an accepted alternative in the sciences and scientific research being done from the perspective of design theory.
- To see the beginning of the influence of design theory in spheres other than the natural science.
- To see major new debates in education, life issues, legal and personal responsibility pushed to the fron of the national agenda.
In his endeavor to smear the reputation of Intelligent Design as a discipline, Professor Moran commits the genetic fallacy, which can be defined as the attempt to “discredit or support a claim or an argument because of its origin (genesis) when such an appeal to origins is irrelevant” (Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, article Fallacies). Moran tries to discredit the claims of the ID movement by arguing that these claims have their origin in the religious motivations of their leading proponents. However, the appeal to origins is irrelevant because it is methodology, not motivation, which determines what counts as good or bad science.Vincent Torley is trying to use the standard excuse to legitimize the Intelligent Design Creationist movement. By claiming, correctly, that some of the things done under the umbrella of ID are science (but bad science). He tries to give the impression that the movement has nothing to do with religious motivation.
Nobody is buying that, Vincent. It's time to try another excuse. ID proponents can't argue that evolutionary biologists are motivated by a belief in materialism and atheism then turn around and accuse me of committing the genetic fallacy. None of your ID colleagues are willing to follow the science wherever it may lead. They will always find a way of sneaking god into the picture. Belief in a creator god is the defining characteristic of Intelligent Design Creationism.
When Moran writes that "it’s just a bald-faced lie to claim that Intelligent Design Creationists are motivated by a genuine scientific search for evidence of design," he is engaging in propaganda, by portraying scientists as dispassionate researchers who are totally devoid of personal motives in their research. This is nonsense. The question of whether life on Earth was designed or not is one which we are all, to some degree, motivated to either accept or reject, on temperamental grounds. Nevertheless, most of us are capable of putting our feelings aside when we have to.I never, ever, said that scientists are capable of putting aside all their prejudices and biases. We, aren't, but we try our best and our colleagues won't hesitate to criticize us if we stray.
What I'm saying is that Intelligent Design Creationism is a form of creationism. Almost all the arguments put forth by Intelligent Design Creationists are directed at disproving evolution and the motivation for doing that is to discredit naturalism and support a theistic viewpoint. When prominent members of the ID movement attack evolution because it's atheistic and materialistic, none of you ever bring up the genetic fallacy or tell them to back off. That's because you know full well that your movement is not just about science, it's about the war between creationists and those who don't believe in a creator.
I suspect that many evolutionary biologists are not only skeptical of God’s existence, but actually don’t want there to be a God. In particular, they may feel nauseated by the idea of a Being who produced human beings by a bloody, messy process such as evolution, killing billions and billions of animals in the process. But even if a visceral opposition to the notion of a Deity were the driving force animating their research, it would in no way invalidate that research. The only thing that could undermine these scientists’ work would be poor methodology.I don't know whether you actually believe what you wrote ... I doubt it. What I do know is that the vast majority of Intelligent Design Creationists are quite happy attacking the motives and beliefs of scientists in order to discredit evolution. Haven't you ever heard your colleagues attack Charles Darwin for being a nonbeliever or for being a racist? Haven't you noticed that they do this in order to show that natural selection is false because of Darwin's hidden agenda?
I agree with you that these biases and prejudices should be irrelevant and science should be judged on it's merit. We have judged ID on it's merit and it has always been found wanting, yet it persists. It persists because Intelligent Design Creationism is a political and a social movement, not a scientific discipline. The science part is bad science and the rest is pure religion.
Truth doesn't matter to Intelligent Design Creationists. Facts don't matter, unless they can be twisted into evidence of an intellignet designer.
Creationism, on the other hand, makes no attempt to follow a scientific methodology in arriving at its conclusions. In creationism, the conclusions are dictated by the Bible, and what it says trumps any scientific findings which may point to a contrary conclusion. Hence it is highly misleading of Professor Moran to argue that Intelligent Design is no different from creationism, because its main goal is simply “to provide scientific justification for the belief in a creator god.” Intelligent Design, unlike creationism, has no “higher authority” which can dictate the scientific conclusions it reaches.Bullshit. Every member of your movement is a creationist and they were creationists BEFORE they ever heard of using intelligent design to try and make their beliefs look scientific.1 They reached the conclusion first—creator gods exist—and then they tried to construct a rationalization based on bad science.
As for Professor Moran’s claim that Intelligent Design proponents’ focus is primarily aimed at discrediting unguided evolution rather than building a positive case for design, I can only reply that a design inference in ID can only be made after other explanations have been ruled out, so as a matter of necessity, much of what ID researchers do will be negative, and aimed at eliminating conventional explanations, before any positive conclusion can be reached that a given object was designed.That's just another way of saying that Johnathan McLatchie was misleading Bobby Conway when he tried to claim that ID was just about proving design.
You admit that the first important goal is to build a negative case against unguided evolution. What in the world would motivate you to do that unless you had already decided that evolutionary biology had to be wrong because it conflicts with your religious views?
1. I'm sure you can pretend to come up with one or two examples of "atheists" who converted to Christianity once they realized that irreducible complexity proved the existence of god. If you do try that, I won't believe you. That's because I've had too much experience with your crowd.