Sunday, May 9, 2010

Yet More Evidence that ID doesn’t make any predictions

In a recent book titled "Signature in the Cell"), “design theorist” Stephen C. Meyer discusses 12 predictions made by ID. None of them are valid.

I think that the most interesting one is this:

“If an intelligent (and benevolent) agent designed life, then studies of putatively bad designs in life - such as the vertebrate retina and virulent bacteria - should reveal either (a) reasons for the designs that reveal a hidden functional logic or (b) evidence of decay of originally good designs.”

In other words, if you find bad designs in nature ID is falsified.

That actually seems to have an intuitive appeal and would make sense.

But we have a problem! That’s because possibly the LEADING “design theorist” – William Dembski – says that we are taking liberties if we assume that the designer is incapable of bad designs.

Dembski wrote a book titled “The Design Revolution”. In Chapter 6 of that book (titled "Optimal Design") Dembski writes:

"The word intelligent has two meanings. It can simply refer to the activity of an intelligent agent, even one that acts stupidly. On the other hand, it can mean that an intelligent agent acted with skill and mastery. Failure to draw this distinction results in confusion about intelligent design,"

"The intelligent design community understands...the intelligent in 'intelligent design' simply as referring to intelligent agency (irrespective of skill or mastery) and thus separates intelligent design from optimality of design.”

Note, in particular, that Dembski specifically separates “intelligent design” from “optimality”.

Clearly the claim from Meyer is contradicted by the statements from Dembski. If the test proposed by Meyer was found to be falsified, he would surely simply invoke what Dembski says and shrug it off.

One final point, since Dembski says that the “intelligent design community understands” this, I can only presume that Meyer is not a part of that community.

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