Friday, October 29, 2010

Response to Critic of Intelligent Design

Here is an old blog debate I had with a critic of intelligent design (or, creationism). It is always good to see that biblical creationists are not ignorant, stupid, uneducated Bible thumpers...some, creationists are knowledgeable, intelligent, educated Bible thumpers...

Critic: “The only substantive part of ID is as a negative argument that diametrically opposed to evolution, otherwise it has nothing of substance to offer science.”
Response: False on three points. i) ID is a positive argument that intelligence preceded and caused the origin of life. ID is an independent theory that would not necessarily be true if evolution were proven false. ii) ID is not diametrically opposed to evolution, if “evolution” is defined as “change over time.” ID is diametrically opposed to the theory that living things originated from random events. iii) The goal of ID is not to “offer” something to “science,” the goal is the same as that of science. . .to seek the truth concerning our origins. ID is a testable theory that can be falsified in exactly the same way as the theory of evolution.

Critic: “Imagine teaching ecology in school without a fundamental understanding of Darwinism and evolution. What would ID tell these students, other than the showing and teaching these alleged students the incredible complexity of nature? What’s the explanation for these systems and their numerous interactions? God did it of course. Cool huh? Sorry, that’s not science”
Response: Straw-man argument. Both ID and Darwinism seeks to learn how these systems and their numerous interactions work. The only difference is ID says an intelligent being is responsible, Darwinism says random chance is responsible. If you push any Darwinist far enough, they will say “random chance did it.” Cool huh. . .But that’s not science either!

Critic: “I challenge any ID proponent to demonstrate a single predictive model that ID can make regarding living organisms and their present day ecosystems. “There are no models, the ID proponents got nothing but faith.”
Response: Predictive model: Animals were designed by an intelligent designer and have genetic limits outside which they are no longer viable. These limits will constrain the fossil record to be composed of clearly delineated familial forms rather than transitional forms.
Experimental evidence: the fossil record.
Now it’s your turn. Please explain the cambrian explosion in purely Darwinian terms.

Critic: “I have my faith too but the difference is I don’t subject you to it.”
Response: False. We are constantly subjected to atheistic and naturalistic explanations of our origins even though these explanations require a great deal of faith. Moreover, you impose your faith on others in a condescending and arrogant manner suggesting you are unaware of the assumptions on which your faith is based.

Critic: “Science is not faith but a way of reasoning”
Response: True if by “science” you mean the scientific method. False if by “science” you mean currently accepted theories. Darwin’s theory of the origin of life requires a great deal of faith that falls far beyond simply “a way of reasoning.”

Critic: Simple question: sum up for me how ID describes the functionality and modeling of an ecosystem?
Response: Simple answer. Almost exactly the same way evolutionists would describe the functionality and modeling of an ecosystem.

Critic: “[ID] can’t use competition and evolution to describe the changing ecosystem or fluctuating species populations.”
Response: Straw man argument. All ID theorists believe that competition and survival of the fittest occurs in a changing ecosystem. Long before ID or the theory of evolution, mankind was aware that populations could be manipulated through breeding and artificial selection-this is even part of Darwin’s premise in origins.

Critic: “What would ID have to say? Wow, this is so complex, forget about understanding this, this had to be an intelligent designer at work. And that’s fine but it’s not science and you can’t do anything with it.
Response: Straw-man argument. The history of modern science rests on the backs of scientists who believed in ID. Complexity in nature did not lead them to say “forget about understanding this,” instead it drove them to understand it further because they believed the more the learned about nature, the more they were learning about the designer. Mendel, the father of modern genetics, was a monk!

Critic: Reconciling your faith should never be an easy exercise and we don’t need to give people another excuse not to think.”
Response: True. What greater excuse is there to not think deeply about something than to believe it came about by an infinitesimally small, accidental, random event. In my experience human beings don’t spend a lot of time trying to understand random, rare events (might I get struck by lightning on a sunny day?), but take very seriously purposefully designed events (could I get electrocuted if I touch this live wire?). Evolutionists are the ones that don’t want to have to think. They prefer to make straw-man arguments, make false assumptions, and throw around condescending statements rather than wrestling with the faith they have placed in a dying theory.

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