The ID creationist blog, Uncommon Descent
, just gets more and more amusing now that lawyer and certified public accountant Barry Arrington has taken over.
For some comedy gold, read this post and enjoy the logical fallacies, straw man arguments, and misspellings. (Barry also doesn't seem to know what "antecedent" means.) It looks like it was written by an 8th grader, not a member of the bar.
Let's start with the first line: "Living things appear to be designed for a purpose. That statement is entirely non-controversial." Well, I dispute it. Living things don't really appear designed to me, much less designed for a purpose. Most of the designed things I know look like artifacts: the characteristic product of human activity. Mark Isaak even wrote a paper in which he tried to list commonalities among designed things. Living things don't fit very well.
As for "designed for a purpose", what purpose would that be? What is the purpose of the Ebola virus, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the tick, the cockroach, and Celine Dion? A commenter tried to ask this, but didn't get any sensible answer.
Barry's post is called "Denying the Obvious". Lots of things which people used to think were "obvious" turn out to be not so obvious. It was "obvious" for many years that the earth was flat. It was "obvious" for many years that the earth was stationary. It was "obvious" for many years that witches were real, that slavery was the natural order of man, and so forth.
Barry thinks the denial of design is dishonest: "Dawkins and his ilk deny design, however, not because the evidence compels them to deny it, but because their a priori metaphysical commitments compel them to do so." Actually, they don't, at least not for me. I think it would be really mind-blowing if we discovered that life on earth (in general) or people (in particular) were part of an extraterrestrial engineering experiment. But since there is currently no evidence for this, pardon me if I am skeptical.
Barry thinks "Materialists must deny the existence of libertarian free will". Well, not this materialist. I don't deny it because I don't think anybody --- and certainly not Barry --- has a coherent definition of "free will". I do think that the folk and religious understanding of free will is very, very likely to be wrong, or at least wildly simplistic, as we are finding out from neuroscience. I think ultimately we will come to a scientific understanding of the various phenomena we currently lump under "free will". Progress is unlikely to come from philosophers and even more unlikely to come from theologians or certified public accountants.
Barry thinks "A man’s body is designed to be complimentary [sic] with a woman’s body and vice versa. All of the confusion about whether same-sex relations are licit would be swept away in an instant if everyone acknowledged this obvious truth." Well, no, it's not "an obvious truth", even if one uses the correct word "complementary". And even if it were, what does that have to do with whether same-sex relations are "licit", by which I assume Barry means "lawful"? After all, hammers are designed for hammering, but does that mean if I use a hammer as a doorstop I am breaking the law?
Barry illustrates the truth of William James' observation, "A great many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices."