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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Positive Case for Intelligent Design Creationism?

In biology, when you encounter something that has the superficial appearance of design there are two possible explanations. Either it evolved by entirely natural processes or God did it.

In the Intelligent Design Creationist literature, 99% of the effort is spent on trying to prove that evolution cannot produce the appearance of design.1 They have to focus on the anti-evolution argument because if they admit that evolution can do the job then there's no reason to invoke the supernatural.

The frequent criticism of this negative anti-science rhetoric is an embarrassment to many Intelligent Design Creationists so they often make up stories about the "positive" argument for design.

Sometimes it's fun to watch them twist and turn. Here's Casey Luskin performing: How James Carville’s New Book, 40 More Years Misrepresents Intelligent Design.

1. The remaining 1% is uninterpretable gibberish.


  1. Nope, still negative. Argues that evolution can't "design" so we can infer intelligence...without describing the "intelligence."

  2. Larry, you have a direct challenge and an invite over at Carm. It's about the octopus.

  3. Luskin is affirming the consequent. Intelligence can produce CSI. Therefore if there is CSI there must have been intelligence.

    But he has to show that only intelligence can produce CSI.

  4. Casey Luskin, employee of the Discovery Institute: "In his new book, 40 More Years: How the Democrats Will Rule the Next Generation, Democratic strategist James Carville badly misrepresents intelligent design (ID) as a wholly negative argument against evolution."

    George Gilder, co-founder of the Discovery Institute: "I'm not pushing to have [ID] taught as an 'alternative' to Darwin, and neither are they," he says in response to one question about Discovery's agenda. ''What's being pushed is to have Darwinism critiqued, to teach there's a controversy. Intelligent design itself does not have any content."

  5. I disagree with your premise. In biology... ...God did it is never an explanation. If it didn't evolve through natural processes, then it must be artificial but we don't know who or what made it.

  6. "But he has to show that only intelligence can produce CSI."

    Actually, first he would have to show there is such a thing as CSI, which so far has only been defined by ID/Creationists circularly as "information that evolution is incapable of producing." CSI has no independent definition in the legitimate scientific and mathematical literature regarding information.

    But in any event we all know there is a Designer, and His name is Slartibartfast.

  7. Yes Jud, I agree.

    It's just that I chose to focus on the very basic logical fallacy.

  8. Gotta agree with Chris there, why does God get a monopoly over the supernatural? What happened to ghosts, aliens, spirits, angels, or my own psychic powers? *flexes brain*

  9. It’s easy to characterize something as a “very basic logical fallacy” and thus characterize what Luskin has said as the poor efforts of just another rube or IDiot.

    If Intelligent Design were operating under only deduction, then one might level the criticism of logical fallacy in the form of affirming the consequent. But if one considers the role of abduction in scientific endeavors, then the criticism cannot be so easily tossed around.