Design in Nature, Part 2

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March 25, 2011 Tags: Design

Today's entry was written by Oliver R. Barclay. Please note the views expressed here are those of the author, not necessarily of The BioLogos Foundation. You can read more about what we believe here.

Design in Nature, Part 2

This is part two in a four-part series adapted from a 2006 Science & Christian Belief article by Oliver Barclay. Part one can be found here. Having described the biblical claim that God is both creator and sustainer of creation, Barclay now turns to compare this view with what he calls the “semi-deism” of the Intelligent Design movement. Please see the full paper for references and complete text.

Scientific evidences of design?

Discussions about design by God in the natural world have in recent years tended to be dominated, as they were in parts of the nineteenth century, by those features of the world that are currently thought to be scientifically inexplicable. For example, Michael Behe has suggested that there are biological entities, such as complex biochemical pathways, that display ‘irreducible complexity’ in the sense that, in his view, they could not have come into being by gradual Darwinian processes and therefore display the properties of ‘design’. A considerable body of literature has been generated by the ‘intelligent design’ controversy. The main advocates of this school see the evidence for design especially in those scientifically describable features of the world that at present have no convincing scientific explanation.

Taken overall, the major stages in design arguments may be summarized as follows.

  1. There are many features in nature that powerfully suggest that they were designed by an intelligence. Even so skeptical a writer as Richard Dawkins agrees, although of course he speaks of ‘apparent design’.
  2. Many people go on from there to believe that the universe is indeed designed by God. Christians have no difficulty in taking that step, as noted above, viewing the whole panoply of the universe, with all its processes, whether scientifically understood or not understood, as reflecting the intentions and purposes of God. In this more traditional understanding of design it makes no difference whether something is currently understood or not at the scientific level.
  3. Enthusiasts for intelligent design, however, are making a very different kind of argument, suggesting that ‘design’ can be detected by mathematical and other arguments, claiming that there are scientific features of the world that are such that we cannot conceive how they could have come into being by material processes alone. Therefore it is logical to accept the activity of a designing intelligence as responsible. Their main target is usually large-scale evolution and its perceived weaknesses, and other areas where scientific explanations are currently incomplete, such as the origin of life, the information encoded in DNA, and so forth.

It is not the purpose of this article to provide an extensive critique of ID, which has in any case been thoroughly done by others, but rather to achieve the less ambitious goal of examining the differences between concepts intrinsic to ID and the main themes of the biblical literature. These differences may be summarized as follows.

  1. ID arguments have a tendency to separate the created order into the ‘natural’ and the ‘designed’. Indeed, implicit in Dembski’s suggestion that ‘design’ can be detected by strictly mathematical arguments is the assumption that there must be a backcloth of ‘nondesign’, otherwise the argument makes no sense. This is very different from the biblical insistence that the created order in its entirety reflects the creative and providential actions of the living God.
  2. This lack of a strong view of providence in the ID position can easily merge into semi-deism. Indeed, even if ID design arguments were accepted, they could by themselves lead no further than a deistic or semi-deistic position. Their aim is to encourage belief in a divine power or intelligence that has influenced the world directly only from time to time, and then only in highly limited and particular aspects, such as the origin of the genetic code or the Cambrian explosion in evolution. Thus Bradley and Thaxton argue that since all the attempts to find a way in which life could have arisen by natural processes are inadequate, and life is incredibly complex, ‘the most reasonable speculation is that there was some form of intelligence around at the time’. And as Dembski writes: ‘The question, then, that requires investigation is not simply what are the limits of evolutionary change but what are the limits of evolutionary change when that change is limited to material mechanisms...The best evidence to date is that these factors are inadequate to drive full scale macroevolution. Something else is required – intelligence.’

    But Dembski would have done well to say that he means all the material mechanisms that we at present know about, as his point sounds remarkably similar to the disastrous ‘god-of-the-gaps’ argument. The phrase ‘we cannot conceive how...’ recurs repeatedly in the ID literature, and cannot escape the criticism that it depends on what we do not currently know or cannot understand or conceive in the present state of knowledge. That point is frequently implicit, when it is not explicit as in the above quotations, and can easily give the impression that belief in God is somehow dependent on scientific evidence. This is very different from the biblical approach, which depends basically on what we do know and can see all around us, however it may have been made by God.

    There is a danger in thinking that the present state of science is almost final. But one hundred years ago, who would have conceived of sequencing multiple genomes, including our own? Even a few years ago we had no idea that genomes could be modified by imprinting in an inheritable manner, nor that micro-RNA is encoded in the genome, with its power to modulate protein synthesis by regulating mRNA. In science it is wise to ‘never say never’ when it comes to guessing what might be understood or possible in the future.
  3. There are real theological dangers in the concept of the ‘Great Designer’, and they can only be avoided with considerable care. If God is perceived as essentially the Great Designer, that is greatly to diminish our idea of him, because it concerns only one limited aspect of his character. It is also a comparative term, so that he is seen as doing things only rather better than we can, as when Freemasons call him ‘The Great Architect’. Indeed it has the danger of defining a ‘god’ who is made in our own image. That is perhaps why ID arguments are acceptable to many non-Christians. But in reality the biblical God is infinitely other than that, the living and active Creator. God is no doubt the great designer, architect, mathematician, physiologist, environmentalist, etc., etc., but he is so much more than all of these put together. The Bible portrays God as the personal, triune, Creator and Providential Ruler of all things, the God who is living and active today.

    Design arguments can detract from, or sideline, that biblical perspective. One is reminded of the way in which that great mathematician and scientist of the seventeenth century, Blaise Pascal, came to a revolutionary change in his outlook on God when he wrote of the ‘God of Abraham, God of Isaac, God of Jacob, not of the philosophers and scholars’. The God of the Bible is not to be thought of as merely a great designer and it is an empty victory to have persuaded people to believe merely that. The history of Deism warns us that making such a view prominent can be a barrier, and not a help, to faith in the living God.

Dr. Oliver Barclay is a retired zoologist, who was the founding secretary of Christians in Science and the first editor of Science & Christian Belief.

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eddy - #55575

March 25th 2011

I see that many theses of this particular post has been explained, or thoroughly refuted by Rich.

ID arguments have a tendency to separate the created order into the ‘natural’ and the ‘designed’

I am not so much into ID but I would think that this is one valid criticism levied at ID that should provoke a lot of philosophical reasoning or even instigate organized scientific question. How do you discriminate between the ‘‘designed’’ and the not designed? Or the well designed and the oh, the not  so well designed objects? Now that’s tricky because as a Christian  you wouldn’t love to cast out a potrayal that some of the God creation is poorly crafted and haphazardly thrown out in space (that’s only atheist’s business!). But then, come to think about it the second time, I would think that ID proponent aren’t so much into theology: they are merely interested and also intrigued with their observations of how much of nature is remarkably consistent with this worldy logic, mathematics and information technology.


conrad - #55578

March 25th 2011

That is a very good blog.

Rich - #55584

March 25th 2011

eddy:

Thanks for your support.  Regarding difference #1 above, about design vs. background noise and its alleged theological problem, that has already been answered clearly by William Dembski:

“The explanatory filter/specified complexity tells us where design is, it doesn’t tell us where design isn’t. So when the filter doesn’t tell us that something is designed, we can’t rightly designate it as undesigned.

“I’ve been saying this till the cows come home ... The criterion of specified complexity allows false negatives, the failure to attribute design even when there is design.”  (Comment #41, Uncommon Descent, 22 September 2009)

In other words, every last stitch of the universe could be meticulously designed, yet ID methods may be capable of rigorously detecting only a small portion of the design.  Nothing in that view contradicts the extension of God’s design or power or providence over all things.

I’m disappointed that Dr. Barclay has declined to comment on the passage of Calvin that I quoted on his last posting, and also disappointed that he continues to intimate that for ID people God is *merely* a designer, when that it simply not the case.  His characterization of the richer Biblical God is one that every ID proponent known to me would fully endorse.  My challenge to him remains open:  find me any passage in any ID proponent where it is stated that God is a mere designer, or that his nature is exhausted in his ability to design, or anything of the sort.  If he cannot, then he should retract the appropriate phrases in the essay above, which give a misleading portrait of what ID stands for.


conrad - #55591

March 25th 2011

The the uncertainty principle gives God complete discretion over the position of every electron in the universe at every moment in time.
 The universe is NOT DETERMINISTIC.

HOW MUCH MORE CONTROL WOULD HE NEED?
 The basic question here is not new.
 In 1930 Albert Einstein had a debate with Niels Bohr over the uncertainty pronciple, which is basically a question of determinism vs. infinite open possibilities which God can control.

Einstein devised one of his famous “thought experiments” in which both the energy level and the position of an electron could be measured at the same time.
 After a few days of agony Bohr came up with the   flaw in Einstein’s argument which Einstein conceded sank his case.

Afterward Einstein said, “But I still say GOD DOES NOT PLAY DICE!”

And Bohr replied “Stop telling God what to do!”
 Since then determinism has been dead.

conrad - #55593

March 25th 2011

You will notice that both Einstein and Bohr believed  they were studying GOD’S laws of nature.
 We still are doing that.
There is no valid science vs. Bible argument and only the pseudo-intellectual community pursues such an argument.
 Biologos keeps it going by refusing to look at real science, M-theory and satellite mapping of ancient photons, etc..

WE JUST KEEP ON TRYING TO FIGURE OUT WHAT THOSE ANE PEOPLE THOUGHT.
[Like they knew more than we know from science and our space program!]

Gregory - #55600

March 25th 2011

“Their main target is usually large-scale evolution and its perceived weaknesses, and other areas where scientific explanations are currently incomplete, such as the origin of life, the information encoded in DNA, and so forth.” - Oliver Barclay

Actually, many people target ‘large-scale evolution,’ not just IDists (one of which I am not). It is similar to how people target(ed) ‘central planning’ in an economy - that model is not as efficient as it might seem at the start, e.g. from the simple philosophical position of ‘everything evolves’ (e.g. the periphery *will* obey the centre). What does that actually mean that distinguishes it from the more general expression ‘everything changes’ - c’est la vie, que sera sera?

Many people target ‘macro-evolution’ (not just bio-physicalists) & righfully so because it is so difficult to model with the massive number of possible variables involved. It makes sense (in terms of complexity/complex systems) that micro-evolution can be more
rigorously studied, while the ‘macro-level’ is more difficult & less rigorously defined.

To me ‘zoo’ is much, much simpler than ‘socius’ to study & to speak about in a ‘be scientific’ way. I am a weight class (or five) higher than Dr. Barclay in terms of complexity &/or number of variables involved in my fields of study.

Let me give an example: evolutionary systems theorists or evolutionary computing (e.g. R. Lenski, C. Adami & many others not in the news). These folks are sometimes trying to ‘map’ such a huge number of variables or to fit ‘whole systems’ into their universal evolutionism that they fail to see how weak their ideas have become in spreading the concept of evolution too thin linguistically. They conflate ‘evolution’ with ‘change,’ say that ‘ontology’ is less important than ‘epistemology’ & that evolution depends on ‘scale’, not ‘content.’

So, in response to what Nietzsche said, ‘Darwin forgot the spirit,’ what does BioLogos say today? We have remembered it in biology again?

What I’m asking from you, Oliver, is a way to distinguish ‘change’ from ‘evolution’. Can you help me with this? What this means is that I don’t trust zoologists (or ethologists) on the topic of human beings. They are still guilty of too much confusion, in the wake of the ‘degree’ vs. ‘kind’ conversation, & some have said that they are among the most ‘reductionist’ of scientists living today, casualizing human life for peanuts.

Jan Lever’s “A Christian Perspective on Evolution” is an example by a recently deceased zoologist. From my memory reading the book, Lever accepts the ‘kind’ argument (but it has been several years & I am admittedly a ‘kindist’).
 
I agree with your concern that ID ‘reduces’ God, the Creator/Evolver to seeming smaller, by being a mere ‘Designer.’ But Rich is certainly correct that most IDists would happily go further to speak about their specifically local version of ‘theology’, including God’s Divine Action in the human world, which in most cases is vastly larger than just ‘designing’. There is a need for dialogue btw these 2 camps to clear this up. The key is that ID encourages talk of intelligence and mind in the universe (even if they cannot model it mathematically); while TE/EC is obscurantist @ mind and intelligence & most often refuses to speak of “things that don’t evolve” or of specifics regarding ‘guided evolution.’

The people who call themselves ‘theistic evolutionist’ or ‘evolutionary creationist,’ which I have to assume includes you, Oliver, because that is the BioLogos position, are pretty much the most confused people I’ve met when it comes to ‘degree’ vs. ‘kind.’ So, you can indeed point a ‘reductionist’ finger at IDists @ ‘design’ as merely one among many descriptors. But remember that a different finger is pointed also at you because *IF* you take the ‘degreeist/gradualist’ route, there is currently no way to make that consistent with Orthodox Christian, Jewish or Islamic theologies.

‘Poof’ is even a better answer than most TE/ECs currently give!

If you say that human beings are ‘different in degree, not in kind’ from (other) animals, you’ve given away the henhouse to the foxes. This is what I believe Dennis Venema is saying with his genomics views.


unapologetic catholic - #55654

March 25th 2011

“The explanatory filter/specified complexity tells us where design is, it doesn’t tell us where design.”

The problem is that the Design Filter doesn’t do anything.  Nobody has actually applied the design filter with calcualtiosn to any biological system.

For that reason, amogn very many others, Dembski admitted that he’s pretty much dismmised the explanatory filter as a useful anlytical tool.

http://www.uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/some-thanks-for-professor-olofsson/#comment-299021


Rich - #55672

March 26th 2011

UC (55654):

I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that it was lack of awareness, rather than deliberate suppression of contrary evidence, that caused you to leave out Dembski’s reinstatement of the filter:

http://www.uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/reinstating-the-explanatory-filter/

In any case, my point is entirely unaffected.  *However* design is detected, with or without the filter, there is no reason to think that design in nature cannot exist outside of detected cases.  Do you think there was no periodic relationship between the elements before chemists detected it?  Do you think there was no cosmic fine-tuning before physicists detected it?  Design detection is not a once-and-for-all activity, but a work in progress.  What we find may be only the smallest fraction of what is out there to be found.  So it does not follow that beyond the flagellum and a few other examples, the rest is not designed.  Thus, any theological criticism based on that inference is invalid.  Yet TEs keep trotting this criticism out.


Roger A. Sawtelle - #55690

March 26th 2011

 ID claims “that there are scientific features of the world that are such that we cannot conceive how they could have come into being by material processes alone.”

This statement for me is key.  The question is what do we mean by material process?  The physical cannot think.  Any process is the product of thought or design.  Thus all material processes must be the product of Someone beyond material Who has incorporated design into the material, just as humans can and have done.  

Thus it seems true that matter/energy while not being able to think is rational in that it is the product of the Rational and can be understood by the rational.  It is also spiritual, not because it is able to formulate purpose, but because it is the product of the Spirit Who gives meaning and  can be used to carry out the meaning of the universe by those created in the image of God.  

In a way this makes ID right and wrong.  It is right in that the universe cannot be formed by material processes as scientism describes them.  It is wrong in that the universe can be formed by natural (as opposed to physical) processes as science and theology should define them.   


eddy - #55695

March 26th 2011

‘‘It is wrong in that the universe can be formed by natural (as opposed to physical) processes’‘

Roger, that requires a bit of further semantics clearing especially as when it relates to the term ‘‘natural’‘. It is not clear yet what you are up to to introduce things like natural vs the physical. But ID point is as clear as day that whether you call it ‘‘natural’’ or ‘‘material’’ or even ‘‘physical’‘, certain phenomena of the world are best explained by intelligence.


unapologetic catholic - #55709

March 26th 2011

“certain phenomena of the world are best explained by intelligence.”

Hi eddy,

Can you give me a couple of examples of biological systems that are best explained by intelligence?

Thanks.


Alex Binz - #55846

March 28th 2011

I can’t help but note the irony that these particular arguments against Intelligent Design were raised from the very beginning by creationist organizations.  If memory serves, I remember an article with these very points was published by the Institute for Creation Research some years back. Such groups opposed ID because it wasn’t sufficiently Biblical or theologically oriented

Then as now, I was dismayed by the almost willful ignorance of what ID is actually trying to accomplish.  ID isn’t a theological position.  As far as I can tell, it can be seen as fundamentally an addendum to the idea of methodological naturalism. ID broadly asserts that design (intelligent agency) can, under certain circumstances, be discerned by the rules of the historical sciences. Though circumstances may be rare, ID maintains that such a result cannot be ruled out a priori, even when the cause or agency at work is unknown. This is, as near as I can tell, the sum total of the ID position.

Given that ID is an epistemic (not ontological) tool, the first objection raised by this article is moot. As others have pointed out, ID allows for false negatives: instances where design is not inferred but may be present.

As for the other two points—which point out the ostensible dangers of a “God as designer” theology—let’s just remember that for most of its history Christianity has maintained a doctrine of creation ex nihilo, and treated God as Creator and Sustainer of life. The image of a “watchmaker God” may date to Paley, but the idea of God presiding over an intricately designed universe appears even in early classical cosmology. I think there’s less danger in a Christianity with a traditional understanding of teleology, than in a Christianity without it.


Roger A. Sawtelle - #55858

March 28th 2011

eddy,

The Bible says that all things were created through the Logos, so that all things are rationally designed.  Thus there is no dichotomy between the material and rational as scientism would have and to some extent ID seems to agree with.


Arcos Plage - #55906

March 28th 2011

The first question Pandeism poses is:

Is the Creator in which you believe powerful enough to set forth the Universe as we experience it—in every particular—while needing do nothing more than set forth the energy of this Universe and the governing dynamics which control the behavior of that energy?

If yes, then the answer confesses that all scripture, revelation, prophecy, and such, is accountable with a theological model which requires no assumptions about the interference of the Creator beyond the moment of Creation, the “Big Bang” as it were….

But if no, then the answer confesses a Creator inferior in power to the Creator set forth by Pandeism, and renders Pandeism the superior explanatory model after all.

R Hampton - #55911

March 28th 2011

So it does not follow that beyond the flagellum and a few other
examples, the rest is not designed.  Thus, any theological criticism
based on that inference is invalid.  Yet TEs keep trotting this
criticism out.


Exactly - and that’s why detecting design is pointless if everything is designed. It’s only of (scientific) use if we can make a distinction between things that are and are not designed.

And what does ID predict/claim in this regard? I’m not sure. I do know they reject the idea that “bad” (suboptimal) design is evidence of a non-designed origin. But if everything is designed, then complex specificity is worthless indicator for simple specificity, complex generality, and simple generality are all likewise hallmarks of design.


unapologetic catholic - #55913

March 28th 2011

“I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that it was lack of awareness, rather than deliberate suppression of contrary evidence, that caused you to leave out Dembski’s reinstatement of the filter.”

I’ll extend to you the same courtesy and assume you do undstand the use of tense in English writing but  just overlooked Dembski’s mid-sentence tense shift.  Here’s what he wrote on Decemebr 10, 2008:

“On further reflection, I think the Explanatory Filter ranks among the most brilliant inventions of all time (right up there with sliced bread). I’m herewith reinstating it — it will appear, without reservation or hesitation, in all my future work on design detection.”

 There has been no future works on ID.  Nor will there be.  He’ll lose his job.

I also recommend to anybody interested to read the commonts a t his pot wehre he apparently unreinstates teh EF, agsin conceding that it is identical to CSI.  It doesn’t appear everybody postignhere erad all the way down the comments.

When he did put out a more recent work in 2009, “The End of Christianity: Finding a Good God in an Evil World,” he got *cough* expelled* for not being a Noahtic flood YEC.  He quickly corrected that

http://www.gofbw.com/news.asp?ID=12220&fp=Y

I expect more Christian aplogetics from Dembski inthe future and a lot less on Intelligent Design.  I coudlbe wrong it’s only been 27 moths since his promise of future work on design.


unapologetic catholic - #55915

March 28th 2011

Rich writes:

”*However* design is detected, with or without the filter, there is no reason to think that design in nature cannot exist outside of detected cases.”

Very true. Not disputed.

“Do you think there was no periodic relationship between the elements before chemists detected it?”

Nope. But I don’t think the periodic table was specifically designed either.  If you understand the weight of protons and neutrons and the properties of electrons, the periodic table is comprehesible without resort to “design.” 

“Do you think there was no cosmic fine-tuning before physicists detected it?”

Theere is no cosmic fine tuning.

“Design detection is not a once-and-for-all activity, but a work in progress.  What we find may be only the smallest fraction of what is out there to be found.  So it does not follow that beyond the flagellum and a few other examples, the rest is not designed.”

All true.  And no evidence that the flagellum itself was designed either.

“Thus, any theological criticism based on that inference is invalid.  Yet TEs keep trotting this criticism out.”

I’m not makigng a theological criticism.  I’m making a scientific criticism. 

The explantory filter is scientifically useless.  Nobody, not even Dembski has used it on any biological system.  Hence, my question to eddy.

If you believe God created everything then its all designed.  If that’all ID can constribute, it adds nothing to the discussion.  If ID argues more—that specific biological systems are designed—(i.e., malaria and flagella, according to Behe)  then it has not demostrated its ability to reliably distinguish the specificly designed biological systems from the “background noise.”  The EF certainly can’t do this.  That doesn’t mean some things aren’t designed, it just means ID currently hasn’t developed the scientific tools to do so.



Rich - #55938

March 29th 2011

R Hampton (55911):

I would guess that everyone in the population of an advanced industrial society has some level of mercury in his or her tissues.  Suppose that our methods of detection are such that we can detect mercury only when it reaches so many parts per billion.  Well then, what would follow?  It would follow that everyone has mercury in the tissues, but that we can only detect it in X per cent of the cases where it occurs.  Surely you can agree to something as simple as this.

Does it also follow, from the fact that we can only detect mercury some of the time, that our tests for mercury are flawed and should be abandoned?  

And does it also follow that our tests for mercury are only valid if there are at least some people who have no mercury in their tissues?

If you think logically about this, and apply it to methods of design detection, you will see that your objection vanishes. 

Of course, as a Christian, committed to the idea of an omnipotent God who willed the universe and all its parts into being, you should also be committed to the idea that everything is designed.  That is implied by Biblical faith itself.  But there is nothing in Biblical faith that suggests that human beings are capable of seeing the design in all cases.  In fact, in Job (btw, that’s the name of a book in the Bible), God makes it clear that human beings will *not* understand all of his design.  So Dembski’s statements re the explanatory filter are perfectly good Christian theology—for those Christians who take the Bible seriously, and don’t replace the parts they dislike with Aristotelian metaphysics, statements drafted by theological committees at Rome, or Enlightenment rationalism and naturalism.


Rich - #55939

March 29th 2011

UC:

Your remark about the future tense is irrelevant to the point I was making.  The point was that you had misled the readers here (I am willing to believe unintentionally) by not indicating that Dembski had reversed himself in a very public manner.  I was simply making sure that the readers here were aware of the reversal, and that they did not carry away with them the misleading impression your remark and reference created.  If you had no intention of misleading, if you didn’t realize that Dembski had reversed himself, then the proper thing for you to say at this juncture is:  “I hadn’t read Dembski’s later reversal; I stand corrected.”  

If you want to complain that Dembski has not done any further work in design detection using the filter since his reversal, then do so; but don’t try to brush off the reversal.  That is so typical of the anti-ID tactics here, to evade or sophistically discount what ID writers actually say about themselves.  And such tactics are almost always the sign that the person using them is interested in confirming a prejudice rather than getting at the truth.


Rich - #55940

March 29th 2011

UC:

On the periodic table, the table itself, as a visual representation of relationships, is of course a human invention rather than a divine design.  But the relationships it sets forth are realities of nature, and as nature is the creation of an omnipotent God who knew exactly what he was doing —which you as a Catholic are bound to believe—those relationships are certainly designed.  And yes, they do follow from the properties of subatomic particles, but of course the properties of those subatomic particles are, for a Christian, designed.  Even for one who is less than Christian, Michael Denton, they are designed.  How much more must this be the case for an unapologetic Catholic?

On another point, I wrote:  “So it does not follow that beyond the flagellum and a few other examples, the rest is not designed.”  You responded:  “All true.” 

Thank you.  Now tell that to your Catholic colleague, R Hampton, and tell it to Dr. Barclay, both of whom have endorsed the conclusion that you and I have logically rejected.

Regarding the Explanatory Filter, I actually have not endorsed it; nor have I endorsed any specific ID method of design detection, nor have I declared that any particular thing has been proved to have been designed by scientific methods.  My role here is not to argue that ID conclusions are correct.  My role is to correct misrepresentations of what ID proponents say, and to rebut flawed arguments against ID.  The argument that if all things are designed, all ID methods of design detection are automatically powerless, is based on the premise that design can only be detected if there exist some actually non-designed things, and that premise is wrong.  It may well be that ID methods of design detection fail, but if they do fail, it is not for the reason given by R Hampton and Dr. Barclay.  If anti-ID people would concentrate on showing concrete mathematical and scientific flaws in ID arguments, rather than trying to come up with sophistical quasi-philosophical refutations such as the one put forward above, they would do much better.


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