Intelligent Reasoning

Promoting, advancing and defending Intelligent Design via data, logic and Intelligent Reasoning and exposing the theory of evolution as the nonsense it is. I also educate evotards about ID and the theory of evolution one tard at a time and sometimes in groups

Friday, February 24, 2006

Take the 3-hour Intelligent Design challenge

Thanks to a very good “Dr.” I just had a revelation-

Intelligent Design is today’s “Green Eggs and Ham”.

People don’t like it because they won’t even try it.

Here is the ID three-hour challenge:

Watch two videos- "The Privileged Planet" and "Unlocking the Mystery of Life", and then, if you can without lying, tell us why ID is not based on observation and scientific research, but is based on religious doctrines and faith.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Intelligent Design 101

Intelligent reasoning

In this day and age in which information is virtually at our finger tips, it amazes me how little most critics of Intelligent Design actually know about it. In the following essay I will try to help those critics, as well anyone else who may care, understand ID reality.

As for myself I have always stated that ID is about the detection AND understanding of (the) design. What do other IDists say:

Intelligent Design is the study of patterns in nature that are best explained as the result of intelligence. -- William A. Dembski

(That one sentence alone refutes what many anti-IDists, including Professors Scott L. Page (aka huxter, pangloss, doppleganger) of Norwich Univ. in Vermont and Joe Meert of the University of Florida, say about ID- that ID is just about the detecting of the design and once the design is detected there isn't anything else to do. These are also dealt with in my ID PRATT List blog.)

How would one understand the design? By studying it. I believe that is what scientists are doing and have done, with Stonehenge (for example).

The following is a must read for ID critics as well as for those others who are also unfamiliar with the subject:
ID 101 by Mike Gene

Mike Gene opens with:

"What is Intelligent Design? If you ask a critic, he will probably tell you that ID is a disguised version of Creationism and nothing more than a Trojan Horse to get God taught in the public schools. If you ask a typical proponent of ID, he will probably tell you that ID is the best explanation for various biotic phenomena.

For me, ID begins exactly as William Dembski said it begins – with a question":

Intelligent design begins with a seemingly innocuous question: Can objects, even if nothing is known about how they arose, exhibit features that reliably signal the action of an intelligent cause?

"The first thing to note about the question is that you don’t have to be a religious fundamentalist to ask it. You don’t have to be a religious fundamentalist to consider it. In fact, you don’t even have to be a religious fundamentalist to answer it."

As for the people who have some "God phobia":

Guillermo Gonzalez tells AP that “Darwinism does not mandate followers to adopt atheism; just as intelligent design doesn't require a belief in God.”

Dr. Gonzalez is one of the authors of The Privileged Planet. His scientific research has led him to the design inference independent of the biological data. IOW his scientific research demonstrates the design inference extends to other scientific fields of investigation and is not limited to biology.

It is obvious that nature and life have the appearance of design. Either that appearance is illusory or because it is real, i.e. involved intelligent agency causation:

“Thus, Behe concludes on the basis of our knowledge of present cause-and-effect relationships (in accord with the standard uniformitarian method employed in the historical sciences) that the molecular machines and complex systems we observe in cells can be best explained as the result of an intelligent cause.
In brief, molecular motors appear designed because they were designed”
Pg. 72 of Darwinism, Design and Public Education

However it may be that even the appearance of design will never be enough for some people to even want to check out if that appearance is for a reason. For most anti-IDists the following applies:

Page 270 of “The Privileged Planet”

“In fact, no amount of evidence for apparent design could ever count as evidence of actual design. But if science is a search for the best explanation, based on the actual evidence from the physical world, rather than merely a search for the best materialistic or impersonal explanations of the physical world, how responsible is it to adopt a principle that makes one incapable of seeing an entire class of evidence?”

There are only three options to our existence:

1) Unintelligent, blind/ undirected processes (non-goal oriented)
2) Intelligent, directed processes (goal oriented)
3) A combination of 1 & 2
(as exemplified by Dr. Behe):

Intelligent design is a good explanation for a number of biochemical systems, but I should insert a word of caution. Intelligent design theory has to be seen in context: it does not try to explain everything. We live in a complex world where lots of different things can happen. When deciding how various rocks came to be shaped the way they are a geologist might consider a whole range of factors: rain, wind, the movement of glaciers, the activity of moss and lichens, volcanic action, nuclear explosions, asteroid impact, or the hand of a sculptor. The shape of one rock might have been determined primarily by one mechanism, the shape of another rock by another mechanism.

Similarly, evolutionary biologists have recognized that a number of factors might have affected the development of life: common descent, natural selection, migration, population size, founder effects (effects that may be due to the limited number of organisms that begin a new species), genetic drift (spread of "neutral," nonselective mutations), gene flow (the incorporation of genes into a population from a separate population), linkage (occurrence of two genes on the same chromosome), and much more. The fact that some biochemical systems were designed by an intelligent agent does not mean that any of the other factors are not operative, common, or important.

We do have processes and criteria in place that allow us to determine the design is real.

What processes and criteria are used to determine the design is illusory?

If, as I like to say, science is our search for the truth, i.e. the reality, to our existence via our never-ending quest for knowledge, then forcing the data to lead only to option #1 by relying on multiple atomic accidents, multiple chance collisions, multiple metaphysical universes and multiple lucky events, is not only an injustice to science, but to all residing on this planet.

Friday, February 03, 2006

The Design Inference- Why it matters

In other forums I have been asked to describe/ define intelligence. I have stated that intelligence is that which can create counterflow*. Now I will tell you why that is important. Sorry, very, very important.

ID critics & anti-IDists are always saying that ID isn't science because it doesn't attempt to answer questions about the designer- such as its capabilities; the implementation process/ mechanism of design (how); when or where it was designed.

But that is exactly why ID is scientific. Because it forces us to ask those questions.

IDists understand that in order to possibly answer those questions there is quite a bit of work to be done. The first is the detection- that is what gets archaeologists and SETI researchers going. Then we look for more (clues of design) while others are going over the first. We fit the pieces together, unless of course we find a short-cut, but the answer turns out to be 42** but we don't know the question. (those darn mice).

I have always maintained that ID isn't interested in answering those questions but IDists are. I have always maintained that is the same as the ToE not being concerned with life's origins but evolutionists are. IOW the theory of evolution is about what happened after life appeared. But if life didn’t arise from non-living matter via unintelligent, blind/ undirected (non-goal oriented) processes, i.e. the only scenario that excludes ID, then there wouldn’t be any reason to infer its subsequent diversity arose solely due to those type of processes. I never could or will understand why anti-IDists can't understand that pure & basic logical connection. But anyway...

Why isn’t ID interested in those questions? ID is about the detection and understanding of the design. SETI- first detect then try to understand; archaeology- first identify artifacts (detect) and then put the pieces together (understand). In the absence of direct observation or designer input the ONLY way to make a reasonable inference about the designer is by studying the design. The same goes for how, why, when and where.

Can anyone tell me how to get any onformation about the Wright brothers JUST by studying airplanes? How about how it was designed or manufactured?

The odd part is the people who rail against ID insist we have those answers or ID isn’t science. However if we had the answers then we wouldn’t need science to help us find them, ID would be a given and the point would be moot.

The design inference matters because reality demonstrates we care whether or not something is intentionally designed. We care enough to have the word artifact as part of our defined vocabulary. We care enough to have laboratories set up to help us make the determination (intentional design or not). And we know it does make a difference to any investigation- that is it matters whether the object/ structure/ event in question was intentionally designed, happened by chance/ accident, or happened by necessity. For example when a fire investigation determines arson, the investigation from that point on is different than had the initial investigation determined “accident”. And guess what? We didn’t have to know who the arsonist was to determine arson as the root cause. Nor did we have to know how the arson was initiated. We know that only via rigorous investigation can we hope to determine those answers. And sometimes the person/ people who made the determination of arson aren’t the same. IOW one “team” made the determination of arson and another went about finding the arsonist. With ID scientists have enough to do with the detection and understanding part. And I agree the questions not answered by ID- the who, why, where, how- can and should be a guiding “force” behind extending the design inference- i.e. using the design inference as a foundation from which to ask those questions. Nasca, Peru- the lines and the figures- designed? Yes. The who, why, how were only “answered” via years of investigation, and we are still working on what we do have. The point being that the discovery of design led to the research. And it also disproves the foolish notion that the design inference is a show stopper (held by those who say ID is another way of saying “Goddidit! We give up!”).

*Counterflow refers to things running contrary to what, in the relevant sense, would (or might) have resulted or occurred had nature operated freely. Del Ratzsch page 5 of Nature, Design and Science: The Status of Design in Natural Science

or as I refer to it as anything that nature, acting alone, could not or would not do.

** from “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”