Sunday, September 21, 2014

Dembski Design Filter . . . Success?

Wow, those 'geniuses' at the DI successfully used Demski's Design Filter to identify a man-made pile of rocks as a  . . . get ready . . . as a man-made pile of rocks!  Can you believe it.  It completely validate the filter . . . or does it?

OK, I am being a little sarcastic, maybe more than a little.  The reason is how does this change anything?  Intelligent Design has often made the claim that all . .. no wait . . most . . . no wait. . . some  . . . yea, that's the current excuse . . ., SOME biological organisms and biological structures are too complex to have come about through natural means . . . meaning, of course, evolution.  The problem is they haven't found any support, nor anything in the way of original thinking.  Just in case, let me remind you of the Watchmaker argument (or Watchmaker Analogy).  It was documented in 1802 by William Paley. It goes something like this:

The watchmaker analogy consists of the comparison of some natural phenomenon to a watch. Typically, the analogy is presented as a prelude to the teleological argument and is generally presented as:
  1. The complex inner workings of a watch necessitate an intelligent designer.
  2. As with a watch, the complexity of X (a particular organ or organism, the structure of the solar system, life, the universe, anything complex) necessitates a designer.
In this presentation, the watch analogy (step 1) does not function as a premise to an argument — rather it functions as a rhetorical device and a preamble. Its purpose is to establish the plausibility of the general premise: you can tell, simply by looking at something, whether or not it was the product of intelligent design.(
So, since you can identify a watch as a manufactured item, you can assume that someone manufactured it.  So if, and that's a huge if, you can positively identify a biological structure as being designed, you have found evidence of some sort of deity.  Aside from the obvious logical flaw that it has to be a deity, let's just focus on the first part, identifying design.

Wild Bill Dembski has claimed for years to have formulated a design filter.  He spoke about it in his 'book' "The Design Inference" and he claims to be able to identify design.  So when archaeologists uncover a lunar-crescent-shaped stone monument in Israel that is about 5000 years old . . . The Discovery Institute applies their 'filter' and identifies it as man-made.  Hmmm . . . didn't the archaeologists already identify is as man-made, especially when they called it a monument?  If it was only a pile of rocks, would the archaeologists be writing about it?  (Massive 5,000-Year-Old Stone Monument Revealed in Israel).

So the archaeologists identified it as a man-made pile of rocks and published their results.  And then the Discovery Institute follow it up claiming to have used their filter to do what exactly . . . corroborate the results?  Was that even necessary?  Seems like an added layer of something completely and totally worthless.  Now what would have been news is if the archaeologists had been able to use Dembski's little brainchild to do some actual archaeological work, but no.  After the fact the DI takes their work and tries to use it to justify their ability to identify something man-made.  I really wonder if the archaeologists hadn't published their paper, would Dembski have found that particular pile of rock?  Somehow I doubt it.  Wild Bill is certainly no Heinrich Schliemann now is he? 

I refuse to give you a link to the DI's site.  You can find it if you really want to . . . but one of us driving up their hit meter by one is more than enough.  What made me laugh was their last paragraph:
"So here we see intelligent-design science at work in archaeology. One should be careful before making a design inference. You should realize that the "identity of the designer" is a separate question that requires other evidence. But the ability to distinguish between natural causes and intelligent causes can motivate research, yield major discoveries, and stimulate investigation of follow-up questions."
First they claim that  . . . and this is the part that really floored me . . . 'intelligent design science is at work in archeology'.  Really?  Or are they simply trying to claim credit for the work being done by other people?  Did their 'science', such that it is, help the archaeologists or did the archaeologists' own work, training, and experience . . . which probably never mentioned the DI or their pet ideas . . . help them make that discovery?  Exactly what did the DI contribute here?  Isn't this what archaeologists have been doing for years? 

So first they make a spurious claim and then they add a little disclaimer about being careful making a design inference.  Typical Cover-Your-Ass silliness from the DI.  Like all their 'work' when someone comes around later and not only doesn't acknowledge their alleged contribution, but actively dismisses them, they can claim they were only making an inference, not stating it as a fact . . .you know like when all the examples of irreducible complexity Michael Behe wrote about in his book, 'Darwin's Black Box' were found not to be irreducibly complex at all.  Or like how quickly their support for Dover, Tejon Ca, and even Louisiana dried up when things started tilting against them.  Yea, claim a victory, but leave yourself a little politically correct denial-ability.  I can picture it when one of the archaeologists say "The Discovery what?", the DI can always claim they were just kidding!

The last part I thought was more than a little disingenuous of them.  They claim the identity of the designer is irrelevant to the idea of being designed.  Hmm, why toss that in there?  First of all I disagree.  One of the things archaeologists do is also determine who did it, how they did it, and often why they did something.  Working with other disciplines, they also try and determine how the artifact was preserved.  The DI seems to think those things are unimportant, well maybe to the DI.

Why would they say something like that?  My guess is because of all the flack they get when they come out and state the Intelligent Designer is the Christian God, which is what they tell their supporters, but they try and deny it when talking to anyone else.  They try their best to hide the identity of the designer because they know it is one of the things that keep them tied to Creationism coattails and those coattails are one of the many reasons they are not taken seriously as scientists.

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