Monday, September 12, 2016

Another Computer to Intelligent Design Analogy, as Effective as All the Others

For years the Discovery Institute has been using the analogy of DNA being like a computer code as one of their varied rationalizations for Intelligent Design.  Like any analogy, it only goes so far because DNA isn't a code, but a physical molecule whose structure we analogize (is that even a word?) to make it easier for us to explain and understand.  Today, little davey 'klingy' klinghoffer took it a further step with his post: "Intelligent Design and the Computer Analogy".  I guess I should say Douglas Axe did it, and klingy is doing his usual parroting.  He starts off with this:

"Imagine if computer science allowed researchers to consider the physical components of computers but not the "ideas" that drive them, imparted by their designers. Douglas Axe, author of Undeniable: How Biology Confirms Our Intuition That Life Is Designed, poses that instructive question in a brief video conversation."
I'm not totally sure where he is going with this, because the physical design of computers has to be taken into account, by the people who designed the computers.  In fact the programmers who develop the programs rarely have to take the computer hardware into account, or else multiple languages wouldn't work across multiple types of computers.  On the computer I am using at the moment I have programmed BASIC, Visual BASIC, Java, C, C++, SQL, JavaScript, Cold Fusion, Pascal, to name a few.

Computer programs are all about the 'ideas' because very few people write code that directly interacts with the processors themselves.  Computer programs are written in languages that are understandable by humans, but not directly understood by a computer.  What a computer understands is something called binary, which . . . when you boil it down to the basics . . . represents voltages at various points withing the computer processor.  The processor is built in such a way that voltages set a certain way at a specific connection result other voltages set a certain way at other connection points.  The folks who designed the processor set that up so this voltage at this point does this.  Our programs are high-level extensions of that, the designers tells us what it is, and we . . . the programmers . . . assign meaning as we see fit.  So this is a pretty poor analogy to biology, no real surprise there.

If that sounds like a good analogy for the Christian God, oh I'm sorry, I mean the DI's intelligent designer, it misses me completely.  Little klingy's article continues:
"Most of evolutionary biology is limited by just such a stricture: consider the physical aspect of living creatures without probing the ideas -- the purposeful, immaterial design -- that we embody in physical form. In biology, you may not weigh the evidence for design, otherwise you're damned as a creationist!"
I think, as usual, klingy and Axe are putting the cart before the horse.  Where is the evidence for design?  Seriously, I am asking.  What has the DI presented that supports evidence for design?  So far nothing but conjecture and wishful thinking.  And yet the DI wants biologists to weigh the evidence for design?  How can they?  There is nothing to weigh, is there?  Until folks like Axe, klingy, and the entire DI get off their collective asses and do the work to support ID, there isn't anything for a biologist.

You might disagree, but take a look at what the DI purports as evidence.  Religious and philosophical articles and books without a lick of scientific evidence.  They are long on talk and short on work!  What they are doing is demanding biologists do the work they are supposed to be doing.  Suppose a scientist did that, what do you think would happen?  It's called unemployment, as least as a real scientist.  The DI might have an opening, after all several high profile ID'ers have departed in recent years.

It's not that evolutionary biologists get damned for probing design, it's that people like Axe and klingy have yet to support their contention of design.  Without such support, probing it is a waste of time and resources.  College professors who are supposed to be teaching science deserve to be held accountable if they decide to teach pseudoscience in it's place!  That's not being damned for probing design, it's being damned for not carrying out their responsibilities.  If a Math teacher decided to teach Numerology or an Astronomy taught Astrology , no one would question their being held responsible.  But because ID is a form a Creationism, are we supposed to give a special license to teachers who abdicate their responsibilities?  I, and many others, say no!

His final line:
"Yet this in a nutshell is the field of evolutionary biology."
What this is, folks, is a strawman.  Little davey tries to tell us that biology is flat and boring because design isn't part of the curriculum.  I will continue to say design doesn't belong in the curriculum until you folks [the DI] do the work to actually support it.  There is a methodology to performing science, and it doesn't include treating unsupported religious philosophies as if they are science just to justify your personal religious beliefs.

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