Thursday, 16 August 2012

ID - not even a theory

Creationists dress up their wacky beliefs in a variety of ways.  'Intelligent Design' (ID) is one that has been quite popular in recent years, but in USA it was clearly recognised in the Kitzmiller vs Dover trial that is not a legitimate science.  In the findings of the court you can read:

After a searching review of the record and applicable caselaw, we find that while ID arguments may be true, a proposition on which the Court takes no position, ID is not science.

Nevertheless, ID is still heralded by supposedly 'respected' organisations like the Discovery Institute, (deliberately not linked from here as it might make them feel more important).  But even they are going to have to change terminology just as they changed the name of their Center for Science and Culture from its original name of Center for Renewal of Science and Culture (CRSC).  The word 'renewal' in that context must have give the game away!

Just listen to their podcast, 'ID The Future', a few times to hear what I mean.  You will find it a good way to exercise your skills at spotting logical fallacies in seemingly reasonable arguments and exorcise any credibility that you might lend to their point of view.

ID - not even a theory
Intelligent Design. Not even a theory!
ID is not a theory.  It is not even worthy of the name hypothesis!  It is not science, but merely another form of religious dogma dressed up as some sort of science to confuse the gullible.  It is a blanket non-explanation which only leads to regression to the further question of 'who designed the designer?'

Watch out for the next incarnation of creationism and be ready to treat it in the same way.  There are already signs of the way it might go.   We hear whining about how ID is ignored by the scientific press, and claims of discrimination against their pet ideas. We hear them asking for the teaching of the (non-existent) controversy.  I think we can tell that they are developing a new approach to replace the tired idea of Intelligent Design - although they will continue to promote the ID smokescreen in parallel.

Another blog, The Sensuous Curmudgeon, seems to share my amusement and my desire to ridicule the work of the Discovery Institute.  Have a look at this entertaining article for the New Theory of Improvident Design.


John Chapman said...

I've always liked the 'Who designed the designer?' question. A variation on it is to ask 'Which god does your god worship?'

Anonymous said...

What you consider true science, through its rigorous processes, yields (at times) basic laws of nature by which experiments can be repeated with predictable results, and hence technologies can be advanced based on reliable adherence to such laws. So, predictability, reliability, and repeatability of physical phenomena are among the hallmarks of science. Science is a process which therefore, as it were, "cracks the code" of nature. But this pre-supposes that there is a code (or, er, a design?). While the language of science (mathematics) deals heavily with theories of randomness and probabilities, and helps predict the more prevalent outcomes of (say) chemical reactions, it does not explain the difference between "true chaos" and "ultra-complexity", the latter referring to such things as an advanced civilization may one day solve but for now are so complex they are "indistinguishable" from "randomness". Order from chaos, on the other hand, connotes its own grand design, or code. What scientists do, individually and collectively, is rather like what a programmer does when he or she inspects code / data written / assembled by someone else and identifies relationships in the data from various analytical queries: they start with something that is already there, determine relationships and predictive rules, and move forward with extensions based on these starting points. Again, whence came the starting points? Scientists "control" experiments, and get uncomfortable with the notion of something unexplainable / beyond their control. Doesn't mean such phenomena do not exist. One could at least regard The Supreme Being like one does a calculus limit ... whoever is thought to be the greatest being in the world, in perpetuity, gives way to the one who surpasses same. As to The Greatest of All, by attribution being far and above the comprehension of anyone else (including any scientist), do you really expect this Supreme Being to be under the control of any natural law? If that were so it would indeed be a paradox.