Tuesday, November 17, 2015

In short . . . we don't know!

Larry Moran, over on Sandwalk, asked several times for the Discovery Institute to explain Intelligent Design, preferably in such a way that makes any sense.  Rarely do they stir to make much of an effort, however recently Ann Gauger, you know the one with the make-believe lab over at the DI's pet Biologics Institute, made several long drawn-out attempts address Larry's question.

Basically Larry, to me, was asking for any pertinent details on how Intelligent Design happened or how it works.  I think he was after some explanation that would make sense all the recent posts trying to tie the use of intelligence as examples of Intelligent Design.  You know my position on that, in a nutshell the use of human intelligence IS NOT an example of Intelligent Design 'Theory' in action because there is no Intelligent Design Theory.  (Intelligent Design vs intelligent design) I think Larry is trying to get them to lay down something more like a real science theory. Did Ann Gauger succeed?  You tell me.

In the first she tries to make fun of Larry for even asking the question, "From Biochemist Larry Moran, More Gratuitous Misrepresentations".  She even implies that Larry didn't even read the book:

"If he's read the book, he should know by now what intelligent design theorists like Stephen Meyer really think."
I an pretty sure Larry read 'Darwin's Doubt', if he hadn't, it would have been quite hard for him to critique it so devastatingly.  I mean do these posts read like someone who failed to read the book?

Apparently Ann wasn't happy and had to follow-up with a post in which she tries to . . . well in a nutshell, and I am sure if she read this she would put it down to a mis-characterization, but she pretty well states that not only is there not a 'mechanism', but anyone who looks for one isn't going to find it.  Here is her post: "What's the Mechanism of Intelligent Design?"  And here a quote in which she summarizes things:
"We can't really say how our own minds work to interact with the world, yet we know they do. It is our universal, repeated, personal experience that shows us that our consciousness interacts with our bodies to produce information, but exactly how it works is not known. So why should we expect to know how the agent(s) responsible for the design of life or the universe may have worked? "

I disagree, I think we know a great deal about how our minds work, much more than 150 years ago.  But admitting that would be counter-productive to the marketing done by Ann and her pals.  Since they [the DI] claim we don't know, they can use that claim to justify as to why they cannot determine how a deity's mind works.  Oh, I'm sorry . . . agent . . . not deity :-)   It is true we do not know 100% of how the human mind works, but what Ann seems to be doing is just restated the 'God of the Gaps' argument.

In the third response she quotes Stephen C. Meyer from 'Darwin's Doubt', "More on the "Mechanism" of Intelligent Design"   I find this more ironic than anything else, here is my thinking why:
  1. Larry Moran wrote a number of devastating critiques on Darwin's Doubt (as noted above).
  2. The DI wrote a follow-up to 'Darwin's Doubt' called 'Debating Darwin's Doubt', which they claimed addressed the criticisms of the original 'book'.
  3. "Debating Darwin's Doubt' failed to address the criticisms put forth by Larry.
  4. Ann uses a long quote from Darwin's Doubt to address Larry's question.
Don't you find that ironic?  Maybe a bit of a circular argument?  If Ann is going to use Meyer to address Larry's question, wouldn't it be better to first address his critiques?  Well that would make logical sense to me . . . but apparently that's just me.

If Intelligent Design wishes to be taken seriously as science and as a scientific theory it has to offer more than conjecture and wishful thinking.  To date it has failed and Ann's rather verbose responses boil down to 'We Don't Know!'  Even more so, I think she pretty clearly states that the DI is never going to propose anything stronger than what they already have.  Oh I think they will continue to dress it up in different lab coats, but each effort will fail as dramatically as Darwin's Doubt -- or if you wish something more optimistic, I think each effort will be equally as successful as DD.  They have to keep up the effort or they might become as irrelevant a religious marketing group as they are a scientific organization.


  1. Perhaps we need a better question. Perhaps we should ask: what can we expect from Intelligent Design, towards improving science? Right now, it seems like it's primary purpose is justifying salaries for Discovery Institute fellows and employees.

  2. I'm not sure their salaries can be justified by the history of the DI. I mean if the DI was a football team, the entire coaching staff would have been fired after Dover. And with their record of 'success' since then, they certainly would have been replaced! Imagine if they were a college, how many alumni would be contributing toward such a lack of success? The DI is lucky their funding is apparently not connected to accomplishments. Wasn't it their 20 year goal to have ID as the dominant perspective as science? I will admit they have about another year to reach that goal, but you would expect something other than scientific ignominy after nearly 19 years. Although if you start the clock from the formation of the Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture, the clock has run out.

  3. The DI are nothing if not wily; come to think of it, Meyer does look a bit like The Coyote. The DI are adept at shifting attention away from the professional literature, and at making their failures seem like successes.

    For example, they spend considerable effort crowing about the sales figures for Darwin's Doubt. Never mind that this book has had practically no effect on the science. Its sales distracts from that lack of scientific importance.

    As far as dominating science, Intelligent Design need only claim how it's been "expelled." Thus the time table is explained away. Again, they can point to other "victories" like book sales.

    Getting back to the question "what can we expect scientifically from ID," we know that the answer is "nothing." The DI all but admit as much. We can see their answer, but it's carefully couched in language that's intelligently designed to fool the donors.