Friday, November 6, 2015

Kirk did it! A new Definition for Intelligent Design!

Finally one of the DI's compatriots re-defined Intelligent Design in the way klingy and little casey have been trying to 'use' it.  Yes, I put the single quotes around the word 'use', simply because no one has seemed to be able to find a way to use ID and suddenly the DI starts telling use how it's being used by everyone all the time.  Needless to say I am skeptical.  If you remember one of my complaints is that the folks at the Discovery Institute, like klingy and little casey have been citing examples of human intelligence as case studies in the applicability of Intelligent Design.  (Intelligent Design vs intelligent design).

My issue has been that Intelligent Design, as defined by the DI, isn't something that can be applied.  Here is their definition:

"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. ("
While they like to call it a theory, here's no science behind it, only philosophical arguments about what a 'Designer' may or may not have done.  The word 'theory' for their definition is the colloquial definition of an 'idea', not the much more rigorous 'scientific theory'.  Seriously, their 'work' to date has been marketing, not science.  One of their senior fellows, Wild Bill Dembski has been 'working' on a design detector for years, but has yet to detect anything at all.  All he's done is be able to point to something we know is man-made and claim his 'detector' confirms it.  Of course nothing he claims can be validated in any way other than accepting his word that his detector is working and detecting!

A bunch of years ago I attended a Java conference in San Francisco.   At the conference Palm was offering their newest handheld, the Palm V, for sale at a pretty good price.  Yes, it was a while ago, but the story still applies.  There were over 20,000 people at the conference and apparently Palm sold about 14,000 handhelds.  During the conference they held a little contest involving writing a java program for the handheld.  One guy wrote a little app that allowed one Palm to find other Palms with a specified region.  It was pretty cute, it looked like a sonar screen.  You see the 'signal' sent out in a expanding arc, and if it 'detected' other palm devices, they showed on the screen as a circled dot reflecting the signal.  In reality is was a simulation that neither emitted a signal, nor was able to detect anything at all.  Which also makes it just as functional as Demsbi's detector, although cuter.

So, many of their recent posts like to claim that human intelligence is the same thing as their Intelligent Design, I have been in disagreement. The ability to think, design, and eventually build objects is a common human activity and its source is readily identifiable.  Look at their definition and maybe you can explain to me how human intelligence = ID? 

One of my favorite posters over on the Evolution 'News' and Views, Kirk Durston, re-defined it for them in 'Defining and Utilizing Intelligent Design in Science':
Intelligent Design: an effect that requires an intelligent mind to produce
Note, this is very different than DI's, but it does align with how recent posters have been trying to sell the idea that ID is being used.  So far no one at the DI bothered with this new definition, they simple forget to use upper-case 'I' and 'D' and assume people can't tell a shell game when they see one, as in i = I and d = D, so intelligent design = Intelligent Design.  I guess they couldn't fool Kirk, he redefined it for them.

However, I will plainly state my issue once again.  Even with Kirk's re-definition, the use of Human Intelligence is not an example of Intelligent Design, as defined by the DI!  It was not how they presented and attempted to defend ID in court.  It is not how it is defined in the DI's Wedge Strategy Document, nor in any of the subsequent books and articles about the subject.  Even the Wikipedia entry 'someone' keep trying to re-define (Wikipedia deserves an Award! They Annoyed the DI! Yea!) says:
"Intelligent design (ID) is the pseudoscientific view 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. ("

For a change I don't have much to say in disagreement with the rest of Kirk's post, it is an example of human intelligence in action, but it is certainly not an example of Intelligent Design.  The fact he had to re-define ID to make the connection is pretty clear evidence.  But in reality, does it really change anything?

Look at the new definition.  Like the old one, they still have to:
  • Support that a biological organism, or even part of a biological organism, could not have occurred through any natural process, not just natural selection, but any natural process.  
  • Once they do that, then they have to support 'other than natural' processes.  Remember the alternative to 'natural' is not 'intelligence', but 'supernatural'.  So step two for them is identify the other-than-natural process. 
  • If they get through the first two, then they have to support that ONLY an intelligence could have produced it through that 'other-than-natural' process.
  • Then, and only then, they have to provide support for the identity of the intelligence.   This is the step they like to ignore, but since they haven't gotten through the first three, they can keep putting this one off, claiming that it doesn't matter.
  • And finally they have to support that their identified intelligent agent is the one that produced the element under discussion using the as-of-yet unidentified other-than-natural process.  
To date, have they even succeeded in the first part? Looks like they still have their 'work' cut out for them.  Oh, and just in case you were wondering, none of those steps can be accomplished through marketing.

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