Response to ‘A is for Atheist’ web blog
The article responded to is on the: a is for atheist5760 blogspot.com site (had to remove the link because now it attempts to install a malware/flash installer when accessing it)
I posted my response as a comment on this article, but as you can see there are almost NO comments on the site on the bottom, and this article has been posted for a couple years now; so I thought I’d put this, fleshed out more, on my blog.
Here was my reply to the above “refutation”:
“I reject both premises as false as neither are necessary, hence Stephen C. Meyer’s ID theory as an explanation of origins doesn’t fail. There is no scientific need to explain more than what is “possible” [edit: or probable] to be a valid explanation in science.
I reject the notion that a theory leading to a supposed infinite regress = FALSEHOOD. The logic simply doesn’t follow that something is false because more data is not forthcoming at the moment. Such reasoning would invalidate many of the sciences that study past phenomenon. If we are seeing signs of intelligence in the biological facts we do currently have, then that’s enough to conclude it as a best explanation (as per current scientific knowledge, but the testing, the theorizing, the experiments, etc. aka: THE SCIENCE doesn’t STOP there and that is KEY)
…but we can still INFER and conclude one theory makes more sense vs. another given the available data, but one thing a person should NOT do is refuse to allow intelligence as an explanation (in order to conform to some materialist bias) because ultimately the TRUTH (facts) of the matter is what IS important.
If a person rejects intelligence primo de facto as a cause, it certainly should not be done solely because a person WANTS to A.) Avoid an infinite regress or because B.) They don’t have the full rap-sheet on the designer in question…in the first objection, how do you propose to resolve such an infinite regress as the multiple-world hypothesis which is the leading materialist explanation of the origin of the universe?
Let’s face it, no matter what we do, concerning discussions of ‘origins’, it ALWAYS comes back around to either an infinite regress or an “unmoved mover” (something not suspect to an infinite regress) as a starting foundation, and so it seems clear to me at least that this is a philosophical (not scientific) argument at its root of whether mind or matter is being primary, and then we go on arguing what else we accept/reject from that bedrock, so I say to all: Take your pick I guess.
Thank you for the interesting article.”
Refuting the Intelligent Design argument? – I think not.
To further clarify (both generally and concerning my point B above.) I mentioned above anyone can come up with a premise they feel will negate someone’s position if they can prove or disprove that premise (note: the premise only). In reality such a tactic does no such thing IF that premise can be logically rejected. (Of course doing so doesn’t prove the counter position either, but that’s not the point)
ID Theory is clearly based on a study of causality and the inference (from observation) of the FACT that intelligence does in everyday life reveal for us a solid uniformity of experience (in being responsible for the creation of many things that cannot arise through “natural means”) as an example of this: imagine a computer evolving if given enough time….never needing a mind etc..now stick with me, this is NOT an argument by ‘false analogy’, just an idea to get a basic point across. The truth of the matter (as far as all human experience and science tells us) is that complex specified information has one “known” cause in the universe, and that cause is IS intelligence, but in this article the author is attempting to refute the ID position on the grounds that the conclusion “intelligence most likely did it” must ALSO somehow necessarily (absolutely) provide additional explanations before it can be taken seriously. (for EX: “what” intelligence is it exactly? Is it God? Which one? or is it Aliens, or a powerful sentient floating teapot, etc..?)
The fact of the matter is we don’t know & likely cannot know according to the limitations of ID (not to mention the scientific method itself, the assumption that science MUST explain all of reality alone is NOT a scientific claim, it’s a philosophical claim and that’s a whole different argument…) , but this isn’t good enough for this militant atheist web blogger and his “hidden premise” argument, so many people like this aren’t happy with the missing answers they wish were not the case, so they assert boldly that ID cannot be science. This is an ABSURD perspective (and quite corrupting to the very nature of science) I would argue. Charles Darwin himself employed the same foundational form of reasoning that ID does when speculating evolution; he didn’t have all the answers (he had no clue as to the level of sophistication in biochemical system either), yet now as time progresses we see clear signs of evolution occurring at the micro-cellular level of organisms all the time. Claiming victory against a theory because you don’t have ALL the answers you would WISH you had that naturally follow from questions that reasonably arise from a theory is tantamount to invalidating most of the historical sciences we consider worthwhile (Archeology, Historians), not to mention scientific fields that deal with intelligence as the foundation of their study. (Cryptography, Detectives).
The same objection swings both ways, and is equally true for ID as well, by understanding that just because a materialistic explanation doesn’t exist, it doesn’t follow IT CANNOT…but ID isn’t the one claiming a monopoly on the truth of the subject and dismissing the opponent due to semantics & adding burdens of proof that it doesn’t (shouldn’t) need to bear, it’s merely asserting itself as the best casual explanation. (currently)
While it would be nice to know all these details of WHAT this intelligence is from the science itself, and where it is, and even what it’s favorite salad dressing is, it’s purely optional and is not incumbent upon ID to provide any more than the most generic indicator that an origin (in its case, specifically that the origin of complex specific information) can only arise as the product of a creative intelligence. Lacking any materialistic explanation (as we do currently), this is the most rational position to hold, even in the absence of a robust step by step process (filter) available to determine a positive process of which to find such an intelligence in a system vs. it’s absence when discussing anything beyond absolute origins. Why? Because given what we DO observe as the products of intelligence, that these all have complex specified information, Ex: your software, your computer, writing on a notepad, Mount Rushmore, etc.. and in all of the world the only natural phenomenon that literally contains the same type of information, is the “digital code” at the very foundation of biological life itself. (DNA) which has yet to be explained through any naturalistic pathway for its origination. They are not even close to explaining it.
Present day attempts are being made to use RNA as an materialistic evolutionary explanation in the ‘RNA world hypothesis’ but they aren’t even close…the problem is more severe than many realize because chance isn’t going to do it alone (not once, least of all trillions of times, and they admit as much), so it’s commonly accepted that it must be chance acted upon by natural selection, but that isn’t even feasible in this case, we aren’t talking about macro or even micro evolution (modification of a preexisting system at this point… This is WAY earlier…Natural Selection cannot even be in operation at this point (DNA’s creation) because Natural selection REQUIRES a self-replicating molecule to even function as a starting point, which comes along long after DNA!! This is the most foundational chicken or the egg argument that has ever existed. Complex specified information is not MATTER, it’s not Energy, it’s wholly different and yet it exists, contradicting the entire Materialism/Physicalism worldview. The best (most rational) explanation (given what we DO KNOW) even though being admittedly incomplete at this time, is that this complex specified information IS the product of “an” intelligence. (Only, at least until something NEW comes along in reality to explain it in naturalistic terms.)
Just to address this, concerning a common objection to ID: this is NOT a “God of the Gaps argument”, and don’t believe that for one second if you hear such nonsense. The easiest way to dismiss a position you vehemently disagree with it, is to be intellectually lazy by dismissing it out of hand, claiming some fallacy of reasoning you can’t even explain by itself…all this so you you don’t have to address the specific arguments that position makes, and so obfuscating details is preferred. Why is it NOT a Gaps argument? because the gap IS clearly already there and IT MUST BE FILLED WITH SOMETHING, the question is…filled with what? (in much the same way an archeologist may find an artifact and WISH he knew WHO the man was that shaped it, but all he can conclude is that was shaped by the activities of a conscious mind and nothing more.)
Imagine for a moment that this archeologist doesn’t know who exactly created the artifact, perhaps it’s too unique or even damaged, and so he changes his mind and concludes that an intelligence was not involved and did NOT create it. He instead resolutely states that it must have been formed by wind erosion, all by an unguided, unintelligent natural process…because he didn’t learn about the inventor, and doesn’t want to commit an “archeologist of the gap fallacy.”… So silly, and yet according to the logic of many who are so antagonistic toward ID, this is their logic when taken to its natural (pun intended) conclusion.