Saturday, August 13, 2011

An Intelligent Design Quiz . . . not really

Over on Uncommon Descent, a poster added this: "A short quiz on Intelligent Design for both advocates and opponents of ID" I have a number of issues which I will address while answering, but one jumps to mind immediately -- this is not a quiz. A quiz is designed to test your knowledge of a subject. This is a survey. It's asking your opinion. I am sure the poster will take the results and turn it into some sort of marketing message in support of ID. After all posting it on Uncommon Descent already shows their prejudice. Well here goes:

1. On a scale of 0 (diehard disbeliever) to 10 (firm believer), how would you rate your level of belief in Intelligent Design? (Minimal Definition of Intelligent Design: The idea that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, and not by an undirected process.)
  • I dislike that definition, diehard supporters have stated time and time again that the designer is the Christian God, so wording it this way perpetuates the constant marketing efforts to disassociate ID from its religious underpinnings. But I will be happy to answer: 0
  • Second answer: 'What, no negative numbers allowed?'
2. What do you regard as the best argument for Intelligent Design?
  • There aren't any. All arguments for ID are unsupported philosophy, wishful thinking, and/or conjecture. There is no evidence, no one seems to be working on providing any evidence. Your own little 'quiz' is another example of marketing instead of substance.
3. What do you regard as the best argument against Intelligent Design?
  • Anything that has some actual evidence, like real Science, Biology, Evolution, Astronomy, Cosmology, Geology, Paleontology, Physics, Chemistry, to name a few.
  • The next best argument against ID are the ID publications and public presentations themselves. Self-published (Discovery Institute Press), religious imprint of publishers, like HarperOne, and publications in the popular press offer the argument that you already know you have no substance. The constant appearance of ID proponents giving presentations at religious locations, religious schools, and sponsored by ministries also add to the picture that not only is ID religious, but you are trying to hide it and doing a poor job.
  • Another argument against ID is the unwillingness of ID to follow even the most basic scientific methodology. You declare it a scientific theory and demand space at the science lectern. This unwillingness also shows the paucity of your own position more clearly than anything I say.
4. I’d like you to think about the arguments for Intelligent Design. Obviously they’re not perfect. Exactly where do you think these arguments need the most work, to make them more effective?
  • Stop marketing and go to the Lab. If you want ID to be taken seriously as anything more than conjecture and wishful thinking, YOU need to provide the evidenciary support for it. Don't whine that other folks aren't agreeing with your philosophies, get off your ass and do the actual scientific work, follow scientific methodologies. It is the ONLY way you will belong anywhere other than the Fiction section of the library, right next to the Tarot Cards, Astrology, and Feng Shui books.
5. Now I’d like you to think about the arguments against Intelligent Design. Obviously they could be improved. Exactly where do you think these arguments need the most work, to make them more effective?
  • These arguments against ID do not do any work specific toward ID to make them more effective. These argument continue exploring the world around us and we learn more and more on a daily basis. Learning more about the world shows us how bereft ID is from anything resembling support. It must be galling to be a sideshow instead of a mainstream effort of scientific research.
6. (a) If you’re an ID advocate or supporter, what do you think is the least bad of the various alternatives that have been proposed to Intelligent Design, as explanations for the specified complexity found in living things and in the laws of the cosmos? (e.g. The multiverse [restricted or unrestricted?]; Platonism; the laws of the cosmos hold necessarily, and they necessarily favor life; pure chance; time is an illusion, so CSI doesn’t increase over time.)
  • None, it's all garbage. ( I know, I shouldn't have answered this one, but it's irresistible!)
(b) If you’re an ID opponent or skeptic, can you name some explanations for life and the cosmos that you would regard as even more irrational than Intelligent Design? (e.g. Everything popped into existence out of absolutely nothing; the future created the past; every logically possible world exists out there somewhere; I am the only being in the cosmos and the external world is an illusion requiring no explanation; only minds are real, so the physical universe is an illusion requiring no explanation.)
  • No, ID is irrational, along with other pseudo-scientific explanations. It's not possible to compare these different explanation on any scale of irrationality.
See what I mean, a survey, not a quiz. I do plan on posting my responses, it will be interesting to see if it even makes it on the site.

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