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26 September 2010

Why "Intelligent Design" is a load of old soap

In one of the comments on another of my scintillating posts, I have been not exacly *accused* of misrepresenting intelligent design (creationism in a cheap tuxedo), but the suggestion has at least been made that I have perhaps been using a definition that doesn't quite gel with what the beastie actually is.

So what IS "intelligent design"? What better place to find a definition than http://www.intelligentdesign.org ? It would seem a good place to look, and here is their definition:
Intelligent design refers to a scientific research program as well as a community of scientists, philosophers and other scholars who seek evidence of design in nature. The theory of intelligent design holds that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection. Through the study and analysis of a system's components, a design theorist is able to determine whether various natural structures are the product of chance, natural law, intelligent design, or some combination thereof. Such research is conducted by observing the types of information produced when intelligent agents act. Scientists then seek to find objects which have those same types of informational properties which we commonly know come from intelligence. Intelligent design has applied these scientific methods to detect design in irreducibly complex biological structures, the complex and specified information content in DNA, the life-sustaining physical architecture of the universe, and the geologically rapid origin of biological diversity in the fossil record during the Cambrian explosion approximately 530 million years ago.
OK - it's as clumsy a definition as you are ever likely to see. It's a "scientific research program"? And it's carried out by a bunch of johnnies who refer to themselves as "scientists, philosophers and engineers" and they seek evidence for design in nature. What kind of design? Oh - *intelligent* design of course. So it's an activity undertaken by some punters with a pre-defined search objective, i.e. to find design, rather than look at how things might have come about. If your critical thinking hackles are not starting to rise by now, they should.

But I get ahead of myself. What is the *definition* of ID? There it is up there - certain features of living organisms and the universe are "best explained" by an intelligent cause. So they're starting with their conclusion, and trying to make the data fit. Hey ho, that's fine. But there are some problems - not least of which is that there is no evidence for such an intelligent cause, and the history of explaining hard-to-explain phenomena by invoking an intelligent cause not otherwise in evidence has not been a happy one. Lightning, epilepsy, the apparent movements of celestial bodies etc. All perfectly natural, no pixies required.

So our doughty chaps have some examples, you might think? The Cambrian Radiation? No need to invoke intelligence there. Just biology. DNA? No evidence of intelligence - just evolution! The universe itself? Hardly. The invocation of the Fine Tuning argument as evidence for an intelligent cause is hardly convincing. So exactly what HAVE these people produced apart from comment pieces? Where is their research? Where are their papers published in the scientific literature? Where is the EVIDENCE for an intelligence having designed our universe and life within it?

It simply is not there. ID is a crock.

Of course the fact that ID is nonsense does not necessarily *disprove* the gods. But as a "research program" or "intellectual exercise" it is a dead duck, and has been comprehensively refuted by real scientists.

24 comments:

  1. I've come across five definitions for intelligent design:
    #1. Design exists in nature (about what you just found).
    #2. Divinely guided evolution (according to Dawkins).
    #3. The genesis days were actually millions of years but it is still accurate (according to Kenneth MIller).
    #4. Basically Irreducible complexity exists (according to NOVA).
    #5. The same thing as young-earth creationism (from what I've seen on internet forums of YECs calling themselves something that could be described as cdesign proponists).

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  2. You're hit the nail on the head with your examples! One of the main problems of assessing ID properly is defining it correctly. My favorite false definition is:

    "ID states that life is too complicated to have originated by chance, and thus came about via a supernatural cause." Or some such.

    A 2/7/05 article in Newsweek, 'Doubting Darwin' stated: " How did life, in its infinite complexity, come to be? A controversial new theory called 'intelligent design' asserts a supernatural agent was at work."

    Thus a conflation with YEC theology if 'poof' was operative, or with OEC if guided or pre-wound evolution was operative. But ID seeks design inferences, which do NOT require that design activities were by a divine or supernatural agency. Intelligence in this case merely connotes a directed action by any sort of cognitive and capable agency. Orbiting savant idiots are not ruled out.

    The straw man definitions are easily knocked down!

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  3. First, let's critique your critique. You stated: "[ID is] an activity undertaken by some punters with a pre-defined search objective, i.e. to find design, rather than look at how things might have come about."

    In science, you start with a prediction based on evidence(s). Regarding phylogenetic progressions (the taxonomic tree), in the case of ID, the prediction is 'intelligently guided' processes(s). In the case of the Darwinist paradigm, it's 'naturally occurring process(s).

    Both acknowledge common descent, but each proposes differing processes. ID in its current synthesis does not deny descent, nor that natural processes may be involved; it just predicts that there was also intervention a certain points. Current evolutionary theory based on both Darwinian 'natural selection' postulates and Mendelian 'inheritance postulates' differ from ID primarily in the denial of teleology as an investigative hypothesis. IOW, by totally unguided processes, or mutant-did-it. ;~)

    If this can be deemed an accurate overview, then BOTH have "pre-defined" predictions or hypotheses regarding the mechanisms involved. Your statement regarding ID, " ... rather than look at how things might have come about." is false, since BOTH are based on a similar theory (common descent with variations), differing only in the proposed mechanisms.

    "So they're starting with their conclusion, and trying to make the data fit."

    Again, no different from any theory, Darwinian evolution et al. And as Johnny Cochran once quipped, "If the gloves (data) don't fit, you must acquit." Or go with a competing theory. So do the genetic and phylogenetic gloves fit evolution? Sure they do, but naturalistic causation to explain the most complex revisions has NOT been empirically demonstrated. Thus, ID is still a viable alternate hypothesis.

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  4. First, let's critique your critique. You stated: "[ID is] an activity undertaken by some punters with a pre-defined search objective, i.e. to find design, rather than look at how things might have come about."

    In science, you start with a prediction based on evidence(s). Regarding phylogenetic progressions (the taxonomic tree), in the case of ID, the prediction is 'intelligently guided' processes(s). In the case of the Darwinist paradigm, it's 'naturally occurring process(s).

    Both acknowledge common descent, but each proposes differing processes. ID in its current synthesis does not deny descent, nor that natural processes may be involved; it just predicts that there was also intervention a certain points. Current evolutionary theory based on both Darwinian 'natural selection' postulates and Mendelian 'inheritance postulates' differ from ID primarily in the denial of teleology as an investigative hypothesis. IOW, by totally unguided processes, or mutant-did-it. ;~)

    If this can be deemed an accurate overview, then BOTH have "pre-defined" predictions or hypotheses regarding the mechanisms involved. Your statement regarding ID, " ... rather than look at how things might have come about." is false, since BOTH are based on a similar theory (common descent with variations), differing only in the proposed mechanisms.

    "So they're starting with their conclusion, and trying to make the data fit."

    Again, no different from any theory, Darwinian evolution et al. And as Johnny Cochran once quipped, "If the gloves (data) don't fit, you must acquit." Or go with a competing theory. So do the genetic and phylogenetic gloves fit evolution? Sure they do, but naturalistic causation to explain the most complex revisions has NOT been empirically demonstrated. Thus, ID is still a viable alternate hypothesis.

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  5. Lee, thanks for dropping by. I agree that creationists like to cloak themselves in the apparent respectability and sciency-sounding tones of "Intelligent Design", but the fact remains that to the majority of creationists, ID means YEC or OEC or at the very least, "goddidit". So perhaps the efforts of IDists need to be expended in tackling the problem of the cdesign proponentsist transitional fossil.

    But there is a deeper problem, and that is that we already know that natural processes are adequate to explain the observed phenomena - irreducible complexity, for example, is in no way a barrier to evolution, and indeed, complexity itself is what we *expect*.

    You are right to note that issues like common descent with modification (i.e. evolution) are settled, and facts to be explained, not hypotheses any more.

    So what does ID bring to the party? Essentially, to me, it looks like simply teleology. There is a pre-defined outcome. But there is no evidence for such a pre-defined outcome - what we have in fact are populations in evolutionary flux, adapted by contingency.

    So naturalistic evolution is more than adequate to explain what we observe, and IDists need to demonstrate that there is a problem that they can solve. To do that by telling lies about biology is a strange approach, and perhaps justifies the view that ID is just a trojan horse for old-fashioned creationism and a religious agenda. Idiotic orbiting savants or sky-pixies called Jehovah - there is no difference in substance in the ID model.

    Would you agree with this assessment?

    Cheers,
    -Shane

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  6. Hi Shane,

    "I agree that creationists like to cloak themselves in the apparent respectability and sciency-sounding tones of "Intelligent Design", but the fact remains that to the majority of creationists, ID means YEC or OEC or at the very least, "goddidit"."

    Altho I've never heard a religionist say "goddidit", it summarizes the belief structure of most. Likewise, my reverse corollary of "mutantdidit" is no-less avowed by most scientists, whether admitted to or not. This would include not just archaeologists, anthropologists, paleontologists, zoologists, cellular biologists and geneticists, but physicists, astrophysicists, chemists, medical practitioners, and all of the other -ologists. But is there a firm consensus? Impossible to know, since no working scientist that depends on grant money or gleaning tenure would allude publicly to a teleological viewpoint.

    I hold the position that ID is valid science, although not largely as presently practiced and purveyed. My position is based on my analysis of data. My main interests are anatomic and systemic physiology, embryology and genetics, although having worded mostly as a biomedical engineer and in aerospace (inertial navigation systems). My sources are non-academic, and journal, book and Internet based.

    Isn't the Internet great? It's the perfect arena for copy-and-paste, like this one, which except for the Gallup 5% tally, is totally unsupported:

    "There is overwhelming support in the scientific community and academia for evolution. One estimate in 1987 was that more than 99.84% of almost 500,000 scientists with professional credentials in the earth and life sciences supported evolution over creation science. An expert in the evolution-creationism controversy, professor and author Brian Alters states that "99.9 percent of scientists accept evolution." A 1991 Gallup poll of Americans found that only about 5% of scientists (including those with training outside the biology) identified themselves as creationists."

    To help avoid detection, you can add or subtract a word or two, like the addition her of "signifficantly" [sic] by this poster:

    http://www.amazon.com/review/R2F4K8Y3M0E2WP

    Similar to extreme right-wing blogs and emails to influence elections and pending legislation, blogging, and in particular pop press scientific articles tend to sway the public to a materialistic stance. Scientists in all secular universities are schooled accordingly. And finally, NAS, AAAS, NIH and virtually all other funding , regulatory and journal publishing orgs take a hard position against ID.

    But my reasoning in favor of 'design' is not based on an a priori belief in god, particularly an ordained one, but of an objective overview of the data. How so, one might ask? In short, it's been argued that those from an engineering orientation see design where others don't. After a number of debates over 'design inferences', I tend to agree with that generalization.

    "You are right to note that issues like common descent with modification (i.e. evolution) are settled, and facts to be explained, not hypotheses any more."

    Except with guys like Periannan Senapathy, and his supporter Jeffrey Mattox. I don't at this point support that theory.

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  7. "So what does ID bring to the party? Essentially, to me, it looks like simply teleology. There is a pre-defined outcome. But there is no evidence for such a pre-defined outcome- "

    I see evidence of teleology, but little evidence of 'pre-definition', but more of 'cut-and-try'. I see this planet as a biologic workshop of sorts. I also hold to dualism (altho I hate -isms!), and view bioforms as temporal vehicles, for non-temporal entities. My present synopsis is that all intelligent life is spirit based, but within the natural realm. There is a possibility that we are in a direct lineage with prior biologic designers.

    "-what we have in fact are populations in evolutionary flux, adapted by contingency.

    While 'contingency' displays 'need', it lacks in its ability to propagate IMO.

    But again, my conclusions are subject to change. And before you write me off as a fairy dust promoter or such, consider that I have no profit motives, motives to deceive, and that I have done experiments to confirm duality.

    Finally, I agree that there is some deception within the ID camp, although not universal. Most of the DI fellows (I said most), are sincere and dedicated to the furtherance of science, but perhaps a more objective science than exists today. Bringing religion per se into academia and the scientific realm is not only not on their official agenda (Wedge doc axed), but totally unobtainable in our society, regardless. In short; no harm to consider ID as a valid scientific pursuit. Hey, it might even be true.

    "ID is just a trojan horse for old-fashioned creationism and a religious agenda. Idiotic orbiting savants or sky-pixies called Jehovah - there is no difference in substance in the ID model.


    Would you agree with this assessment?"

    I can see Barbara Forrest nodding her head, but no, I do not agree. Religion, or even a more general deistic oversight hypothesis, is not a premise of ID proper. At some point, however, it might turn out to become a conclusion.

    Cheers at 3:48 in the AM, Phoenix time,

    Lee Bowman

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  8. Lee, I'm not convinced you have approached this properly; what is the basis for this "design inference"? Intelligence is one information processing system, evolution is another. What specific features of biological systems have you demonstrated to require the former to the exclusion of the latter?

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  9. I haven't made the case for ID here, but there are several qualifiers.

    IC is one. Behe's definition: "A single system composed of several well-matched, interacting parts that contribute to the basic function of the system, wherein the removal of any one of the parts causes the system to effectively cease functioning."

    I would modify it in this way: IC/NEC, to include 'non-evolvable complexity. Behe's definition is an over-generalization, since there are exceptions to it as stated. In the blood clotting cascade, there are intrinsic, or contact pathway factors that are missing in puffer fish and zebrafish. He has replied to criticisms that there are extrinsic and factors 'below the fork' that are required for clotting. Removal of some may increase your PT or PTT, but essentially they form a closed system. I am working on a more defined IC definition, as well as NEC.

    NEC will include co-dependent organs, organelles and systems like metabolic replenishment systems of the vertebrate/ invertebrate eye that function together in a way that there would be no overall function without one or more of them in place.

    There are many more co-dependent systems that can, I feel, be shown to be 'non-evolvable' by intermediate steps, but this is a work in progress.

    It's been stated that falsifying evo processes for novelty generation and IC/NEC do not give support to interventionary acts (ID), but what is a third alternative? I feel that design by gene tweaking (using what's there), as well as new protein formulations (unknown process) may well be operatives in novel transformations, where natural processes can be shown to be inadequate.

    "What specific features of biological systems have you demonstrated to require the former to the exclusion of the latter?"

    None published at this time, but I'm working on it. In short, ID is not a developed theory at this time, but is a valid alternative hypothesis for natural selection in instances where NS can be shown to be non-sufficient.

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  10. Hi Lee,
    OK, so what you're saying is that you haven't demonstrated any systems that are non-evolvable, but that you think that someone might discover some in the future, and in those cases, an "intelligent designer" might be a viable hypothetical cause?

    Is that not a bit of a weird approach - I mean, firstly should one not demonstrate that the existing theory is deficient in some aspect, then propose an explanation that would remedy the deficiency?

    You mention co-dependency of organs, but this is really very easy to explain with straightforward evolution, and indeed the evidence supplied by cross-taxa comparisons and embryology provide very clear evidence of how structures such as the eye could certainly have evolved "gradually". There is really no such thing as "no function" - function is phenotype, and if it is selectable, then it's game on for evolution.

    Remember, none of these things are requiring masses of "hopeful monsters" to arise - we are talking about gene level selection within populations, and complexity positively flows from that situation.

    So it strikes me that ID as you propose it (which seems somewhat different to that proposed by the chappies at the DI, who are, of course, bonkers) is a hypothesis in search of an explanandum..?

    Cheers,
    -Shane

    PS. I agree - Senapathy doesn't even have a "theory" in any scientific sense of the word. He just doesn't understand evolution, but then neither do a lot of people.

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  11. " ... so what you're saying is that you haven't demonstrated any systems that are non-evolvable, but that you think that someone might discover some in the future ... "

    There are a plethora of examples, none of which are empirically demonstrable. Forensic studies like this, both evo and ID, are extremely difficult to verify or falsify. Algorithmic modeling of some sort (mathematical, computer simulations, Tierra, Avida) will be the way, I predict.

    I feel that drosophila experiments have failed to produce the expected results, having only demonstrated allopatric speciations, which do not correlate with revised body plans. Speciation by Mayr's yardstick, but not what I refer to as radical speciation.

    " ... and in those cases, an "intelligent designer" might be a viable hypothetical cause?"

    Possibly, or multiple interveners over vast time. We ourselves could, and possibly will accede to that role. But as stated earlier, conscious life is external to the biologic construct, the cerebrum function primarily as a bodily interface. It has been shown to 'color' perceptions and affect personality, but not as the end point of consciousness. Some will disagree, Steven Novella et al.

    "So it strikes me that ID as you propose it (which seems somewhat different to that proposed by the chappies at the DI, who are, of course, bonkers) is a hypothesis in search of an explanandum..?"

    An hypothesis in need of verification OR falsification.

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  12. Hi Lee,
    You still haven't demonstrated that I'D answers any outstanding questions. I could just as well propose Scooby Design and claim that biology requires Mystery Inc. and then toss put examples of genuine puzzles and make up wee stories of how Fred and the Gang can solve them. So we need ID to bring something to the party as mentioned above- I'm still not seeing any potato salad.

    As for body plans and speciation, you agree that humans and chimps and penguins share the same body plan? Yet you'll agree these indicate discrete speciation events?

    Cheers,
    -Shane

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  13. "You still haven't demonstrated that I'D answers any outstanding questions."

    Rather than answering questions, it tends to raise valid questions about how Darwin's dream, and a nice one at that, can explain what it purports to explain. It cannot.

    Survival enhancement, yes. Diversity, sure, so we don't all look the same. But can it explain novelty? Or the complexity of the higher visual systems, complete with image processing that involves a large area of the brain?

    It would be great if it were that simple. Or if all life started by flukes in one of multiple universes that just happen to accomodate.

    Simple conclusions that seem plausible are always welcome, but not to true skeptics, who rely more upon rational thought than an allegiance to dated sophmoric conclusions.

    And just what 'conclusions' might those be? One is simply that mankind is the only cognitive creature around, residing on one grain of sand on a cosmic Sahara. Another, would be the failure to acknowledge that biologic life is just a shell for a temporal existence. Or that DNA/RNA and the transcription process was set in motion by intelligences.

    I venture that David Hume, a great thinker and philosopher might even agree, IF he had access to today's vast data, which points strongly to directed rather than random activities. So what's stopping you, my friend?

    We know that religion is not the answer per se. But neither is it a valid argument against a cosmic based hierarchy, of which we all have likely descend from. And oversight? Perhaps, but not as seen via the 'man-filter', or organized religion.

    By the way, I like your blog title! It connotes the proper approach to seeking out answers. 'Gene' rather than 'Genesis', without question.

    Any others out there who'd like to comment?

    Cheers to all,
    Lee

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  14. Hi Lee,
    Sadly my little blogarooney at present has a rather restricted readership - one can hope, I suppose :-)

    I still suggest that you have this exactly the wrong way round: you suggest there are deficiencies in the modern evolutionary synthesis, but you have not demonstrated this.

    But can it explain novelty?

    Yes, it explains novelty very well. Why do you think it doesn't? Every baby that is born is novel; every sequence change from one generation to the next is a novelty; we see these all the time.

    Or the complexity of the higher visual systems, complete with image processing that involves a large area of the brain?

    Yes, it explains this very well too. Complexity is an expected feature of evolution, because it builds on what has gone before. I fail to see what "gap" you feel can be addressed by "intelligent design", and I don't think you can demonstrate a single example of an intelligent intervention in evolution.

    There is a wider question - why "tweak" evolution via "intelligent design"? Why not just go the whole hog and *design* the whole hog from the get-go? Why spend millions of years nudging here and fiddling there? Why not just plonk the beasties into place if you're that into complexity? As I mentioned above, you haven't demonstrated that ID adds *anything* to what we already know. You are multiplying entities beyond necessity.

    Sure, I can't exclude, say, alien "design", but we sure don't need it to explain what we observe, any more than I need to postulate a tyrannosaurus in my back garden to explain the disappearance of my cat several years ago.

    It would be great if it were that simple. Or if all life started by flukes in one of multiple universes that just happen to accomodate.

    But that is a non-problem. THAT life started here is a given; THAT our particular universe allows that to happen is a given. Demanding an "intelligent" cause is pointlessly limiting the possibilities. Can I exclude a giant space pixie? No. Do I *need* one? Certainly not. We can revisit that when we hit the buffers, but there is no indication of that.

    Simple conclusions that seem plausible are always welcome, but not to true skeptics, who rely more upon rational thought than an allegiance to dated sophmoric conclusions.

    There is a difference between scepticism and conspiracy theory of course :-) Scepticism means looking at the evidence; there is no evidence for intelligent design, whereas the evidence does point to evolution by purely natural means.

    You need to address the issue that evolution is an information processing system; biological intelligence is another form of information processing system. They have differences, but biological complexity shows every evidence of having arisen from evolution and *not* from "intelligent design".

    Anyone else out there like to join in?

    -Shane

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  15. I'd love to sit an ID science exam.
    Q1- how did the sad system form?
    A- the mysterious designer did it.

    Q2- how did life develop?
    A- the mysterious designer did it?

    Q3- how can we modify the human genome to reduce disease & suffering?
    A- that's the mysterious designer's turf- back off!

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  16. Note they said "scientists, philosophers, and engineers" (emph. mine). What kind of "research program" into supposedly basic science would brag that they had engineers on the case?

    Oh, I know: One that could attract very few actual scientists, and is desperate to make it sound like their adherents have some credibility.

    As an engineer, I think it is okay for me to say this: A lot of what we do from day to day could be described as a sort of "science-lite". We do make hypotheses and test them, but the standard of proof is way lower, it's far less important that we set out our hypotheses and success conditions before conducting the experiment, etc. Ultimately an engineer's goal is to get something that works, and while we strive to do things the "right" way, a little bit of cargo cult engineering is liable to slip in, and most of the time that's really okay.

    So what we do sure looks like science, but it's not science. In particular, remember that since our #1 imperative is to make things that work, we are much more comfortable with the idea of deciding what we want to be true, and then taming reality to match our ideas. This is the exact opposite of what scientists seek to do, and yet it is our job as engineers!

    I think this is why you seem to see so many engineers supporting faux-scientific denialist positions like
    ID, AGW denialism, etc. What is a strength in our day-to-day jobs is a liability when it comes to truth seeking.

    Let's say an engineer is working to improve Brand X Mousetraps. We know for a "fact" that Brand X Mousetraps tend to fail when the mouse is bigger than 3 inches long. It would be nice if this "fact" were no longer true. So the engineer tweaks a little bit there, adds a little bit here, and if things still fall short maybe we can change the metric a little bit and still get a product that is more saleable. This is success.

    Now let's say an engineer is thinking about the problem of global warming. We know for a fact that anthropogenic carbon emissions are creating climate change. It would be really nice if this were not true, especially if said engineer is of a certain political bent. So the engineer finnagles a little bit here, twists the metric a bit here... and comes up with some tortured logic for why AGW is not a problem after all. This is failure -- but it feels like engineering success.

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  17. Hi James, thanks for dropping by. I think part of the problem with engineers (as they approach biology, that is) is that they work from a *presumption* of teleology. They are used to thinking of function first, then mapping out the phenotype from that, rather than thinking biologically. That approach is great when we're dealing with artefacts, but it is completely arse-about when the very process of "design" is what is being considered.

    Of course, many engineers are not shackled by this thought pattern - witness the use of genetic algorithms to optimise systems, often in ways that are completely non-intuitive.

    But engineers can do things that evolution cannot - for example the giraffe's recurrent laryngeal nerve is a whopper of an example where an engineer Would Not Have Done That, but where it is obvious that the "design process" is good old evolution. The vertebrate "blind spot" is another classic example.

    I'm just surprised that the DI list did not specifically mention "dentists", as quite a few of their signatories belong to that profession. There are very very few "real" scientists on their "dissent" list.

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  18. You shouldn't conflate "engineer" with "designer".

    Just saying.

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  19. A more serious point -

    if you're defining ID, and you mention that your a community of "engineers, scientists and philosophers", should you really claim to have a "scientific" research program?

    Aren't you really just saying that you have a research program that uses scientific data?

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  20. Hi Graham, let's not quibble over terminology. When we are dealing with systems intentionally constructed in order to perform a certain pre-specified task, this is a very appropriate conflation. The ID crowd *need* to show that biological organisms contain features that *cannot* have evolved. This "best explanation" guff is nonsense. Complexity fits perfectly into evolution, and the type of complexity we see is cumulative; we do not see examples of designers going back to the drawing board and removing errors such as recurrent laryngeal nerves.

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  21. As for the second point, "research" for some people has come to mean a spree on Google. These arseholes wouldn't know research if it bit their butts. There is no research programme, just quotemining and inventing crap arguments. And lying and misrepresenting science.

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  22. Take away their dishonest gibberish and Magical Intelligent Design Creationism is identical to Magical Bible Creationism. The only difference is the proponents of ID Magic are pathological liars.

    http://darwinkilledgod.blogspot.com/

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  23. HumanApe, thanks - you're entirely correct. ID "advocates" really are terribly disrespectful to the truth and to rational discourse. You can't have a normal conversation with 'em, and they seem to feel that the entire scientific establishment is working flat out to keep the fiction of "Darwinism" alive, when in fact that is all old news, and science has completely and utterly incorporated evolution into its wider framework. It's almost regarded as axiomatic nowadays, except we can prove it.

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  24. Defined:

    1)Willfully ignoring the evidence available from reams of discovery in the last century because: the truth scares you apropros your supernatural-based upbringing or magical-beliefs system; you're too lazy to learn; OR facts don't matter because you've already partitioned your thinking into facts vs. the one subject where facts don't matter
    2)Then coming up with a better term for "creationism" for marketing purposes (since xtianity thrives on marketing itself)

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