Saturday, February 27, 2021

The Fake "Science" of Intelligent Design

The fake "science" of intelligent design claims to provide a reliable methodology for determining if something was "natural" or created through the intervention of an intelligent agent.

Yet somehow its proponents never actually apply it to cases of genuine interest, like this one.

Why is that?


JimV said...

Because they have no such methodology.

"Design" itself is a process of evolution. E.g., the "ten thousand things" Edison discovered that did not work, and the way we've seen cars, telephones, and everything else evolve in our lifetimes. Both Paley's pocket watch and the trees in the forest evolved. Watches just evolve faster because although there are fewer of us doing design, we have better forms of memory than DNA to pass on both success and failure information to subsequent generations, as well as meta-information about the design process.

We don't create new things, especially not laws of nature, we discover them and apply them. There is no valid analogy between human design work and universe-creation. The analogy is to biological evolution.

As a design engineer of 35 years experience, I doubt that a single so-called "Intelligent Design Theorist" has ever been part of a successful design effort, or actually studied the history of design. If they had, they would know that it is a long history of trial and error. Based on archeological evidence, it took modern humans over 100,000 years to design the wheel and axle.

Once you have found a successful design, you can apply it to other uses: wheels to capstans, pulleys, gears, etc., up to and including computer hard drives. After a while, there so many designs that some people think it is a magical process.

Go ahead, Design Theorists, design something new (that works). Show me the magic.

dean said...

Yet somehow its proponents never actually apply it to cases of genuine interest

Because their target audience doesn't expect, or need them to. All the creationists need to do is send a 'science sounding' justification for their religious beliefs and dislike of science that disagrees with them and they'll continue to get support.

SPARC said...

I've posted something similar already at AtBC:

Just out of curiosity: UD's founder and ex-owner Bill Dembski writes on his personal

"In my book The Design Inference (Cambridge University Press, 1998), I laid out a statistical method for uncovering the action of a designing intelligence. That method took the form of an inference—specifically, an inference to the best explanation. Thus the method asserted that if an event, object, or structure conforms to an independently given pattern (i.e., a specification) and if in the absence of intelligence the probability of matching that pattern is small (i.e., improbability), then a design inference is warranted. Simply put, specified improbability constitutes a method for inferring design. Moreover, things that exhibit specified improbability are best explained as the product of intelligence."
(italics in the original)

Did he ever use "specified improbability" in his earlier writings? The first thing that showed up when I googled "specified improbability + Dembski" was your review of Dembksi's No free lunch which stated
"Another term, such as Robin Collins' "specified improbability", would have been less confusing."

Jeffrey Shallit said...

SPARC, that's funny!