The Troubled Waters of Intelligent Design

dembski untitled monkey

First, I should say that I like Intelligent Design. It questions cherished assumptions held by arrogant scientists and other scholars. Furthermore, it strives very hard to be just like science, in order to undermine it. This is a noble goal, reminiscent of Obama’s biography, where he reminisced about being “behind enemy lines” in corporate America.

However, just because something falls under the category of muckraking, doesn’t mean that it is always good. There are many examples of bad muckraking. In fact, bad muckrakers like these give bad names to the rest of us. I can’t count the number of times people have assumed that I was one of these people, before even looking at my arguments! It’s quite frusrating. You have to be able to distinguish between good controversial figures, and bad ones. Legitimate commentators like nutritionist Kevin Trudeau, and complete quacks like Denise O’Leary. So without much further ado, I will just list a few of the difficulties I have with Intelligent Design.

Intelligent Design is not really Science

All Intelligent Design does is concede ground. Real science gains ground. Can anyone point to an example of Intelligent Design winning an argument? I sure can’t. Intelligent Design has also failed to acheive a paradigm shift. All people do in Intelligent Design is leave the movement. This has all the characteristics of a cult. But back to paradigm shifts, Hans Küng has taught us that scientific shifts occur best when left alone by religion. Who is Dembski to lecture Küng? And who is O’Leary to lecture Dembski? Ipso facto, who is O’Leary?

Intelligent Design fails to produce technology

It has long been obvious that the halmark of science is building neat things. What are some of these neat things? Escalators, pop machines, cures for diseases, spaceships, and lasers. Name one technological innovation produced by Intelligent Design. I bet you can’t name one. And all this for a movement with “intelligent design” in the middle of its very name.

Intelligent Design contradicts the law of entropy (aka the Law of Thermo Dynamics)

The arguments of intelligent design continually get more and more complex and absurd and overly wordy. But according to entropy, things get simpler (and, ergo, more appealing). How then does Intelligent Design survive? This is one of the lesser known objections to ID. Note that ID people often use Entropy against evolutionists! Can you believe it? More serious scientists have pointed out their flaws.

Those are just three things to think about. I would point out as well that not all critics of Evolution are silly. I myself have posted a simple conceptual objection to Modern Synthesis. But there are others. One might take a hint from David Berlinksi, a very well-respected mathematician who has posited interesting critiques. You can watch him below, and I leave you with this video.


34 thoughts on “The Troubled Waters of Intelligent Design

  1. If not by Intelligent Design, just what are the options as to our existence?

    A bunch of accumlated accidents?

    Can you put that in a testable hypothesis please?

    You know if you would just support your position ID would go away.

  2. BTW it is the hallmark of TECHNOLOGY to build neat things. You know engineering-ever hear of it?

    Science relies heavily on technology. Don’t forget that.

    And the things we build are via intelligent design. What do you think we just try to do our job willy-nilly?

    Can you name one technological advance in the name of undirected processes?

    I bet you cannot.

  3. Dear Joe G,

    You say,

    Of course the Universe was intelligently designed. After all, there is no other option.

    First, I didn’t say it wasn’t designed. All I said was that these people I am discussing are loony.

    You also say, incomprehensibly,

    Technology is what breeds technology. Also, Intelligent Design breeds technology. Undirected processes don’t breed technology.

    Whoa there, hold your many many horses. Technology is produced conceptually in the mind of scientists first. And the truths of science allow for the production of technology. See Das Kapital for details here. Also, “Intelligent Design” is a theory, not a field. Theories don’t make stuff. Of course people make stuff. I never denied that.

    So I’d appreciate it if you stopped blowing smoke around and start acting serious.


  4. Another hallmark of ID looniness is the fact that essentially all their “disproofs” of evolution are philosophical in nature. I guess all these folks fancy themselves baby Einsteins, able to discern reality with their cutesy mind experiments.

  5. First, I should say that I like Intelligent Design. It questions cherished assumptions held by arrogant scientists and other scholars. Furthermore, it strives very hard to be just like science, in order to undermine it. This is a noble goal, reminiscent of Obama’s biography, where he reminisced about being “behind enemy lines” in corporate America.

    Just to say I am pleased to here you like Intelligent Design, though I am sorry to see you think it is not really science. You might like to consider a third alternative to the current two choices we have for the origins of humanity.Maybe it could be described as the Artificial Evolution of Design. To very advanced science with an in depth knowledge of the species, in the case man, when one considers the whole of humanity as a biological entity, then its progress is predictable, as with a child in the womb. As one Professor of Evolutionary biology suggested that if Dawin is wrong, then we need to replace it with a better scientific model.I believe this theory provides this potentially new model. It does provide a prediction, .When people ask for a testable hypothesis, then this has one.Only probem is we would have to have a nuclear war to prove it.Personllay I do believe humanity is wise enough to avoid this route . If one does not take this seriously, then presumably one does not take the dangers of nuclear war seriously. Bottom line is that once a humanity reaches that level of technology where it can use atomic power for wepons, then from that point on that humanity enters an age of potential self-destruct. In the theory there have been many humanities on this very ancient planet, which have disapppeared for the self-evident reasons we can well understand today. Wonder if the p’penny is going to drop’, before the bombs or after.

  6. I would take issue with design OR theories being required for discovery, though I grant that is the way it usually works.

    NS seems to be contradicting himself a bit, as he first say ID is not a science, but then says ID is a theory. However, I’m also taking these statements out of context – quote mining – which is something that ID actually seems to do quite well. However, ID is neither of these things, as to proposes to use naturalistic methodology to support the conclusion that naturalistic methodology is incorrect.

    I also think the monkeys are going to be highly displeased at being equated to W. Dembski.

  7. “David David Berlinski, a very well-respected mathematician”

    Respected by who? Berlinski is an evolution denier. He’s one of the professional liars who works for the Christian creationism organization called the Discovery Institute. He’s a world-class idiot. Who respects him besides gullible brain-dead creationists?

  8. Michael: “Artificial Evolution of Design”

    What the heck? Artificial evolution of Magic? You creationist hicks keep inventing fancy words to disguise your childish nonsense. Sorry, but no matter what you call your idiotic medieval belief in magic, it’s not science.

    Michael, calling your magic god fairy a designer is extremely dishonest. You should be ashamed of yourself.

    Here’s a wild and crazy idea, Michael. Instead of making a fool out of yourself, why don’t you grow up, educate yourself, and face facts. Join the 21st century. Don’t be afraid of science, and stop lying about science. You’re so obviously uneducated I don’t think you even know what science is. Hint – scientists don’t invoke magic fairies (including your designer fairy).

  9. If any of you creationist lunatics want to learn something, click my name and see a video that explains why biologists are certain we are distant cousins of chimpanzees. Of course brain-dead creationists can’t understand anything, so never mind.

  10. Sheesh! Peeps get fired up around here at your blog huh?

    I enjoyed this post. As the daughter of a minister who happens to think that the bible and intelligent design can co-exist on the planet I found your commentary refreshingly honest and holistic.

  11. Oops. I don’t think I know what I’m talking about. I believe I meant to say…

    … that the bible and the Theory of Evolution can coexist.

    Maybe my typo was a subconscious fear that bobxxx was going to call me a name… hehe.

  12. Went to the link you provided to your objection. I am no scientist, and definitely Innumerate when it comes to math (or nearly, at least). I have some undergraduate training in philosophy, but am by no means an expert on anything. So I must say, I am lost as to what your objection is, or what you mean. Mutants don’t get girlfriends? Don’t know what high school you went to, friend. In my experience there was almost nothing BUT mutants, and lots of those dating each other. I either missed the point completely, or you miss the point of natural selection. By the time I got to the end I was half-convinced you were joking. I like that you have an objection, since I like anything which challenges conventional thought, even when conventional thought is probably accurate. I don’t find your objection has much substance. Can you point me to other posts you’ve made which have articulated this point in another way? I clicked the link hoping for an interesting objection, and got…comic book geeks with pimples. If none of them got dates, where did the next generation of Spider-Man-reading, Stridex-rinsing nerds gestate?

  13. I’m trying to discern whether or not this entire blog is merely a well planned out joke missing a punch line, or straight satire for the uninformed.

    I pray it one of those two options, and not the more basic explanation Occam’s razors gives: That this is serious.

    Working under the assumption of the latter, if what follows comes across as ridiculing and condescending, please forgive me, but it is meant to be.

    Firstly, understand that science is not the end-all, be-all. And any scientist that will tell you such is full of themselves. Every situation of understanding requires a rational, reasoning device to accompany it. Otherwise, you end up a drooling idiot as a ward of the state.
    Science is one, of many tools in the proverbial toolbox to understand how the universe works. it’s honestly the best one we have. We observe a situation. Consider it, and pose an idea of whats going on. We then test this idea, against changing factors of the situation, and modify our idea appropriately.
    We use math, we use the natural laws. We use logic. And if an idea gathers sufficient empirical (Real and tangible, can be detected with the 5 core senses.) and has not been debunked by any evidence showing the idea is contrary, we call it a theory.
    Theories are not absolute. their purpose is to offer the best possible explanation for what a situation is, given the information at hand. theories are tested, continuously, in classrooms, in research, in simulations. it’s not easy to become a theory. Had you taken a single high school level science class outside of the state or Arkansas, you would know that.
    We start with the natural sciences, math, which leads us to physics, which builds to form chemistry and biology. If you have enough functioning synapses after all that, you can dive into all sorts of fun, cutting edge sciences where new research provides us with new understandings all the time.

    or you can stick with the other tools in the toolbox and leave science alone. Does that make you stupid? Yes.
    Does it mean you can’t live a productive life? Well, it depends on what you mean. Ignoring the best tool in your toolbox will limit you. In career, in social circles. In a world that we are becoming increasingly more knowledgeable of, it certainly puts you at a disadvantage.

    Yeah, you have a point, as the old adage goes, if all you use is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. 9though if you want to ignore the hammer and nails altogether and choose to believe in magic… who am I to stop you?)

    Some folks are far too entrenched in the philosophy of science. It can’t explain everything, if it could we wouldn’t call it science, we’d call it “Truth”
    Beware always of someone trying to sell you truth. But don’t be an idiot, which by measurement of this blog, you have chosen to be.

    But By all means, Stay in your bubble. remain ignorant. if it makes you happy, then no one has the right to tell you to change. We’ll have fun laughing at you, but you shouldn’t care… because we’re all zombies under a collective mind control system called science. You’ve got the edge up!

    But please… please please please…. understand, that people like you are the reason that people like me lock our doors at night.

    Have a Nice Day.

  14. Dear Ngong,

    Yes, I have noticed that IDists try and use pure thought to disprove empirical claims. Although technically possible, even beneficial in some contexts, this methodology is likely to fail in so rich a field as biology.


  15. Dear Michael,

    Yes, I too think there would be great scientific benefits to nuclear war. Unfortunately, “PC” advocates won’t let us say so.

    Also, you are wrong about your history. We have already developed nuclear weapons.


  16. Dear Bob Xxxx,

    First, Berlinski is a very well-respected mathematician and popularizer of mathematical theory. I try not to count this against him. But in any case, he is well-respected.

    As for your other dribble, you shouldn’t use so much ad hominem against kind commenters on my blog. You’re just jealous because not only do you not have a blog, but you couldn’t have one. And even if you could have one, no one would comment on it. Why not? Because no one would read it. Why wouldn’t they read it? They wouldn’t read it because it wouldn’t be very good. Why wouldn’t it be very good? Because you’re not very smart. For example, you cite Youtube as evidence of your own smartness, linking your name to random different things each time. How can we even know you’re still the same person?


  17. Dear Michael The Little Boot,

    Your entire comment is a non-sequitur. If you have a problem with my elegantly simple objection to Modern Synthesis, then post it there. Otherwise you’re cluttering the discussion.

    I’ll magnanimously grant you one response, which is this: You falsely equate mutants with nerds. Nerds have evolutionary benefits too obvious to mention. Mutants do not.


  18. Dear Chuck,

    Thank you for blowing a whole lot of smoke about a whole lot of nothing. I wrote a post about Intelligent Design and a few of its great many pitfalls.

    You decided to give some horrid convoluted lecture about science, and the phallic envy you have for it. That’s nice, but how is it relevant?

    Anyway, I see nothing in your post that contradicts anything in any of my posts. Therefore, there is nothing there to which I can respond.


  19. Saw your link over at Uncommon Descent.

    Watch what you say there because I just got booted off by Barry Arrington. But that’s okay, I predicted it would happen:

    When Barry had already booted RoyK I knew my time was up, and then he said:

    Consciousness is by definition a subject-object proposition. In other words, to accept consciousness, one must accept that there is a subject (i.e, a mind) that has a particular relation to an object (i.e., is conscious of it).

    It was clear he had no idea what he was talking about. Consciousness is no more an object than the “running” or “go” of a car is an object.

    What you won’t see on Uncommon Descent is my link to Marvin Minsky describing how he interprets consciousness:

  20. Technology is produced conceptually in the mind of scientists first.

    Reference please. I know many an engineer who did so for science not because of the science.

    Anad AGAIN I ask:

    If not by Intelligent Design, just what are the options as to our existence?

    And can you put that is a testable hypothesis?

    Ya see in order to falsify ID all the anti-IDists have to do is to substantiate THEIR position.

    But instead they misrepresent ID and then bash said misrepresentation.

  21. And BTW the theory of evolution doesn’t have any empirical claims past the subtle osciallations of gene frequency WITHIN a population.

    And my objection to the modern synthesis is that it cannot even muster a hypothesis.

    But you could prove me wrong by providing one pertaining to undirected processes.

    IOW YOU need to stop blowing smoke and put up…

  22. notedscholar,

    If you would just try to answer my questions you would see a few of the many pitfalls of the anti-ID position.

    1- If not by Intelligent Design, just what are the options as to our existence?

    2-And can you put that is a testable hypothesis?

    3- Can you name one technological advance in the name of undirected processes?

    Why do you guys avoid these questions?

    I say it is because you don’t want your position undressed. And that is because there is nothing under those clothes.

  23. Joe G,

    Please take your bullying tautologies elsewhere.

    I don’t need a reference to show that technology originates in the minds of scientists…. You think that God made toasters and bedrooms. REFERENCE PLEASE AGAGAGA

    Modern synthesis has many many hypotheses. Read anything on the subject. Or if you’re lazy, just take a look at the Panda’s Thumb blog which, while very bad sometimes, has much interesting material.

    Also, you’re weirdly representing my point about technology. I don’t have to think that technology is made “in the name of” undirected processes. Which blog are you responding to? Must not be my blog.


  24. Hello all,
    I may not understand this question properly…
    “1- If not by Intelligent Design, just what are the options as to our existence?”

    If this is refering to a ‘why are we here?’ kind of question then I would like to offer my thought if that’s ok.
    I don’t believe there is, nor does there need to be, a reason for our, or the universe’s, existence. It just exists and we should be grateful that it does (lol). In the same vein, there is no ‘point’ to evolution, it happens and that’s it. Likewise there is no point to gravity. We may as well ask what the point is of the air we breath.
    I think people get hung up on this because we want to feel there is a need for us to be here.
    Mankind makes things, this is one of the few things that separates us from most (but not all) of the other animals and I think this ‘flavours’ the way we view and interpret the world. If something is tangible, if something exists, then it must exist for a purpose and to go a step further, it must have been designed and placed there for a reason. I think we need to reflect on how our own pysche shapes the way we percieve and understand the world.

    What do you think of this?

  25. The most fundamental question you can ask your self or others is how did the first particle or molecule or atom or substance come about that could start anything (Such as the big bang Theory or whatever it is you believe) Scientifically we have no logical explanation as to how this can happen.
    Evolution cannot account for this it is only the study of what happens to life after it is here. The big bang theory gets closer but your left with how did the big bang happen? Intelligent Design through Creationism is the only logical possibility. And just to let you know. Science is the study of everything around us, life and the universe. With belief in faith to deny anything science says it to deny gods creation. I strongly agree with science.

  26. notedscholar, you are smarter than this. don’t confine yourself to term like “intelligent design” vs “evolution.” science and religion are both bullshit.

  27. Pingback: PZ Myers responds to my critique of evolution, ignores current research by Klingenberg | Science and Math Defeated

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