Monday, August 31, 2009

Complexity had NOTHING to do with recognizing ID

As I've said before: complexity of ANY KIND had NOTHING to do with recognizing ID.

I thought of an example that highlights the truth of this claim. It involves three different scenarios.

First, Imagine that you are walking through a forest and you see a patch of wild flowers of different species and colors randomly arranged within that patch. You might stop and admire it, but you wouldn't think that it was necessarily intelligently designed. That patch of flowers is complex, but not, according to William Dembski, "specified".

Next, in one of his books, Michael Behe, who teaches at Lehigh University, suggests a different scenario. He asked what our reaction would be if we saw the word "Lehigh" spelled out in flowers in a flower patch in the forest. In that case we would strongly believe that the patch WAS intelligently designed.

We would believe that because, according to WilliamDembski, the patch is both complex AND "specified".

So far so good. Dembski would give me an 'A' if this was a question in a test in one of his ID classes.

But I have a third scenario.

Imagine that you are walking through the forest and you see a patch of black dirt and nothing else within that patch. There are no weeds, there's no grass, no small trees, nothing but black dirt there.

All around the patch of black dirt are weeds,grass as well as large and small trees. But the patch itself consists of nothing but black dirt.

Moreover you measure the patch and find that it is an EXACT square measuring EXACTLY five feet on each side. Even the corners of the square are exact right angles.

What would you think if you saw that?

You'd be certain that it was intelligently designed!

It would be unrealistic for those things to be seen in a forest without some intelligent intervention. (In fact, it would have to besomeone who knew the English units of measure.)

But note: while that patch of dirt is "specified", it is NOT complex at all! A patch of dirt with NOTHING growing in it has effectively ZERO complexity. Even the shape - a square - is less complex than any sort of random shape for the patch of dirt.

If you had all three scenarios together, you'd guess that you have stumbled upon the place where the 'Lehigh" flower pattern was to be planted butyou did so a day before the flowers were actually put into the ground.

So it is "specificity" and ONLY "specificity" that indicates when something is intelligently designed. Complexity has absolutely NOTHING to do with it.

That's one reason why ID (and particularly "specified complexity") is a complete scientific and intellectual fraud.

No comments:

Post a Comment