Jan 5, 2009

ID: A Con of an Argument

The Intelligent Design argument has taken a good beating (here, here, and here Objectivists effectively shoot down ID), but because its proponents have faith, reason is hardly going to impress them. I have some questions I would love to have an ID’er answer for me; questions that this thought-provoking TJM post points toward. It is best to set the stage before I pose my questions; questions that would probably put an end to ID if they were asked.

The ID’ers argue that there is so much irreducible complexity in the natural world - analogous to a man-made watch’s complexity - that it had to be the result of an intelligent designer; that random chance could not produce it.

In both its agenda and its form, that so-called argument just riles me.

This argument is a thinly-disguised attempt by religionists to hijack science in order to put their religious beliefs on a par with scientific knowledge. My intelligence is insulted by their belief they think they can getaway with this. Throughout man’s history the purely and strictly religious mentality has been an enemy of science and now that science has brought men such tremendous knowledge and progress in just a few centuries - far more knowledge and progress than millennia of ignorance and stagnation that unchallenged religion imposed on men - the religionists want to benefit from science like a parasite on its host. There is no valid argument for God’s existence in philosophy’s history and science has obliterated the religious account of the world - but, suddenly, amidst all this rolling back of religious belief, the ID’ers claim that nature’s constitution, uncovered by science, indicates design by an intelligence (the God for which there is no proof). If that does not appear to be a desperate, last-ditch defense, I do not know what does - yet they expect to be taken with sober, scientific seriousness.

My foot.

The design argument's conclusion does not explain anything because - aside from, being untestable - it is not and cannot be put in the form of an abstract, universal law, that needs no further explanation. It is not irreducible in that sense; instead it actually raises more questions that, to be answered, need such an abstract, irreducibly universal law(s).

My Questions for ID'ers

ID'ers conclude - by scientific observation - that our universe is the product of an intelligent designer. That implies other scientific facts, if not laws, that they must know in order to say that. So,

  1. If the designer, by definition, has a consciousness, then how do you know that consciousness can create existence ex nihilo? On what scientific observation or demonstration can you warrant that belief?
  2. If science shows that nature has specific identity, lawful orderliness, and predictability, then what justifies your claim that there is too much complexity to be the result of 'random chance'? Where is this 'random chance' at work?
  3. If the universe was created by an intelligent designer - who, presumably, has the ability to make anything in any way - would it not make sense for that designer to make a universe simple in design?
  4. If the universe is so complex in its structure that there must be a designer, then for that to be true it implies that a universe that is simple in its structure would be undesigned. How do you know that?

When I hear the ID advocates, I cannot help but think of my last question - that is why ID riles me. Have they been to a simplistically designed universe and proved that it could not have been created by some mysterious, intelligent designer? Their claim implies this necessarily, and it is entirely arbitrary. Here is the condition their belief depends on: a universe of simple design must be undesigned. But, on the other hand, by virtue of their own argument, without a designer, there would be natural randomness, and chaos - and that would make for a highly complex, not simple, universe!

"Intelligent design" is not an argument as much as it is a con-job.

It seems that with those above questions ID is reduced back to the same old God and the same old God questions without any scientific camoflage - perhaps the religionists need another two-thousand years to try to think up some answers and proofs?


  1. After reading your excellent posts on why Christianity is not great, I started to read your older blog posts. I just read this one.

    I follow a religious conservative who constantly argues against evolution which he contemptuously calls "Darwinianism." He doesn't think that ID is the answer though. He just says that we don't know what caused the evolution of species but that secularists and "Darwinians" are bigots for excluding a "theistic explanation."

    His main point of contention is that random genetic mutations cannot account for new species. They can allow for mutations within a species he believes but not for the creation of new species. He believes that "Darwinianism" is therefore opposed to both god and science because it is materialistic and positivistic.

    Also, if you allow for randomness as the creation of mankind than no objective morality is possible and no human civilization can flourish. He therefore thinks Darwin is the god of "liberals" and the destroyer of Western Civilization. Here is a link to a summation of his views:


    I point him out to you because he is an articulate spokesman for the Conservative assault on evolution, science and reason. He's ugly but informative and he provides such a good window into the religious mind which is exactly what you are exposing.


  2. Thanks! You gotta "know your enemy," I always believed.