C4ID hits back against Ekklesia’s take on ID creationism

Alastair Noble, the Director of the Centre for Intelligent Design, has responded to an article at the Ekklesia website, on behalf of C4ID (Intelligent Design is an explanation not an apolgetic – a response to Ekklesia). Noble doesn’t supply a link to the Ekklesia article, so here it is – ‘Intelligent Design’ is a flawed apologetic.

Dr Noble is a man who cannot (or will not) grasp an understanding of biological systems. I add the possibility “will not” because I suspect that his willingness to accept a natural explanation for the diversity of life around us is in large part informed by his religious beliefs. Indeed, it comes as something of a surprise that he emphasises that Intelligent design creationism

[...] is not a religious apologetic but a scientific explanation of the observed data.

In actual fact, and despite his protestations to the contrary, Intelligent Design creationism is not a scientific explanation. It is untestable and makes no predictions. Intelligent Design creationism was invented by the Discovery Institute with the explicit purpose of inveigling teaching of creationism into US schools, where it is prohibited by the constitution. Is Dr Noble really unaware of this?

I have worked my way through the document ‘An Introduction to Intelligent Design’ (my comments can be read here), which was prepared by Dr Noble and his colleagues at C4ID. Noble continues:

The information in living systems is real and raises, to an enquiring scientific mind, the question of its origin.  To make a valid inference about this we need to offer an explanation which is known to apply elsewhere and to operate in the way we propose.

In actual fact the scientific explanations of the origins and evolution of biological information are comprehensive and do explain its diversity. Intelligent Design makes no explanation of the diversity, unless a designer/creator did it. We may not yet know (and may never know) the chemical origins of complex biomolecules, but stooping to “I don’t know, so a supernatural entity must have been responsible” is rather unsatisfactory, and the kind of explanation nomadic goat herders in the bronze age might have come up with, without the benefits of the scientific method.

Well it’s not hard to see what it is.  The only known source of specified functional information is intelligent mind and to infer that the information in living systems has a similar source is entirely consistent with scientific deductions.  To propose the alternative that this all somehow self-assembled, which curiously almost everybody accepts without question, is contrary to all human experience and reason.  It is about as unscientific as you can be.

If this is not an argument from ignorance, I don’t know what is.

Dr Noble seems to think that the ‘establishment’ finds Intelligent Design creationism unacceptable because it departs from a ‘philosophy of materialism’…

I think what is really unacceptable to the establishment about ID is that it departs from the philosophy of materialism which now dominates the pursuit of science.  This philosophy says, essentially, that only physical or material processes can be considered as valid explanations.  Any other explanation, such as an intelligent cause of the universe, must be ruled out before you begin to assess the evidence.  ID, on the other hand, prefers to go where the evidence leads.

If, in the matter of origins, science wishes to cripple itself with a commitment to rule out, by definition, any non-material explanation for the universe such as intelligent causation, it might be better to do the honourable thing and leave the field because its tools are clearly inadequate to the task of assessing the actual evidence.  But there is no need for science to do that if it is prepared to go where the evidence leads.

And I think there we have it. This paragraph reveals Intelligent Design creationism for what it really is. Dr Noble advocates a non-material explanation for the universe. If he is indeed supporting ‘intelligent causation’, who or what is he proposing as the entity that performed this ‘intelligent causation’? If it’s not his particular deity, it’s remarkably close to the sort of power he attributes to his god. In my more mischievous moments, think that maybe this is some kind of super-deity, that created the god Noble worships?

Please Dr Noble, what is the evidence for a Designer/Creator, other than you cannot understand the science (or that you are blinkered by your religious beliefs)? Oh, and while we’re at it, please could you suggest what designed the Designer?

Noble concludes with a section entitled ‘Debate the Controversy’. Please. Intelligent and educated people realise there is no controversy. It is entirely manufactured by individuals with a religious agenda specifically because they don’t like the potential impact that evolutionary biology might have on their belief system.

So are we up for dialogue?  Of course we are.  That’s why the Centre for Intelligent Design (C4ID) is here.  If ID is soon to be debunked, as Bob Carling suggests, let’s have some credible scientific arguments and not the tired reiteration of neo-Darwinian speculation.

On the contrary, biology provides the best explanations of biological diversity, if anything the C4ID website is a tired reiteration of creationist bunkum masquerading as science.

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  1. christian’s avatar

    Nice summary. It would be good to see them at least be honest and say "…so there must be a designer, and that designer is my God!". Then, as you say, we'd see ID for what it really is.

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    1. GrumpyBob’s avatar

      Christian, I couldn't agree more. It's notable that the three public figureheads of C4ID belong firmly in the evangelical camp (and in at least two, if not all three cases, are biblical literalists). In fact I can think of few prominent proponents of Intelligent Design creationism who aren't overtly christian.

      Reply

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