An Objection to Intelligent Design I’ve Never Heard

by Max Andrews

I was in a tweebate (tweet debate) with another person [whom shall remain anonymous] over a previous post of mine where I claimed that Ken Miller’s argument against irreducible complexity was a bad argument (I really don’t like Twitter debates/conversations either).  This person went on about how Miller’s argument convinced Judge Jones and my position was that it’s actually quite embarrassing that the argument would convince anyone (see my post for the context).  Then he claimed the type three secretory system is an objection to irreducible complexity in the bacterial flagellum, which prompted me to claim that it may indeed be IC itself and there are arguments that the flagellum may have come first.  Anyways, those aren’t what interests me.  The argument that I had never heard before was:

ID claims are anything but modest.  Incapacity to imagine other explanations of our beginnings is not evidence of ID. Non sequitur.

Let me be clear, I have never claimed anywhere at any time… ever… that one should be a proponent of intelligent design because of an incapacity to imagine other explanations.  So first of all, this argument belongs in a cornfield scaring away the crows.  Secondly, this is an utterly blatant attack on my imagination! I’ve got a great imagination! (Okay, the second point isn’t really a part of my argument.) It’s true, if anyone did make an argument for ID based on a lack of imagination it would be a non sequitur since one’s capacity to imagine something has nothing to do with the truth claim (as long as the claim is sound/rational, I cannot imagine the actualization of a contradiction).  I’m fairly confident anyone familiar with intelligent design and the state of the evolution controversy would never make an argument for intelligent design like this.  In fact, no one should ever make such an argument for ID like this.

I’ve explained before in my post on God and Darwinism, the reasons why I’m not a Darwinist are for two reasons: 1) the origin of information must be mind and 2) there is objective teleology in the world and primarily human beings.  I do believe the argument from irreducible complexity is a good argument for ID but I’m not going to die on that hill.  I think intelligent causation is a legitimate scientific hypothesis and explanation.  However, there are certain philosophical truths that press the argument.  I could care less if man evolved from a common ancestor but this evolution could not have occurred without a mind acting on the origin of the information in DNA and I believe man [evolves] with an end goal in mind.  That’s why I reject Darwinism.

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4 Comments to “An Objection to Intelligent Design I’ve Never Heard”

  1. That quoted argument you have given just seems to be a caricature of the real point that ID proponents want to demonstrate. Typically as I have understood it, ID (at least the theistic kind–I dont know of any other kind!) tries to argue that intelligibility assumes a prior mind. So from this first proposition it seems perfectly valid to say that if the world shows signs of intelligibility (which one may perceive through ‘irreducible complexity’) then there is a mind which is the source thereof. The naturalist will have to somehow demonstrate that intelligibility is illusory or that intelligibility requires no prior mind at all. I’m not sure how they could do that.

  2. I also agree, Millers argument is weak and uses a lot of assumptions. What do you expect? The mouse trap tie clip didn’t really catch on as well as he thought it would. Behe never said that proteins where not interchangeable, and in this case, the ten out of forty + homologues (meaning similar but not the same) proteins that make up the TTSS. This is the same Miller who just a few short years ago when referring to what was once called JUNK DNA said that an intelligent designer would not produce a bunch of mindless scribble, yet according to current data it seems much of what he and many other neo Darwinist once referred to as junk is anything but junk or mindless scribble.

  3. “Incapacity to imagine other explanations of our beginnings is not evidence of ID.”

    That’s not an argument against ID – its pointing out the logical fallacy involved in a fairly common argument *for* ID : the “argument from personal incredulity”.

    I don’t know the context in which you received that tweet – but it’s likely to have been in response to something that boils down to “I can’t believe something as complex as X came about by chance”.

    Note that I’m not leaping into this skirmish in the pro/contra ID flame wars – just expressing surprise that you’re not familiar with a fairly common meme.

    • You can look back through my Twitter feed, it would be a ways back, but like I said in the post I’ve never said that. I’m more familiar with the more educated objections than emotional musings as stupid as that comment.

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