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Mr_Christopher



Posts: 1238
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 17 2006,12:17   

For the full on effect, read this one closely.  Then read it
again.

Luskin Speaks

Intelligent Design Not Disingenuous

(Casey Luskin)

January 17, 2006
I am glad that my letter to the El Tejon school board provided such large percentage of text for Wayne Adkins’ recent editorial attacking myself and the Discovery Institute. Lieutenant Adkins believes it is “disingenuous” to claim intelligent design does not postulate a supernatural or divine designer. But he clearly does not understand intelligent design.

Darwinists and materialists have been reminding their critics for years that science cannot study the supernatural. In fact, this was their primary critique of creationism during the 1980’s. Design theorists too have recognized that referring to the “supernatural” is not a form of scientific explanation. This is because science can only study things which we can observe, and the supernatural is beyond the observable realm.

While we cannot study the “supernatural” through science, we can study intelligence. We have a huge sample dataset to tell us how intelligent agents operate: technology produced by the human race. Design theorists observe that intelligent action produces large amounts of “complex and specified” information. Language and the finely-tuned, purposeful arrangement of parts in machines are prime examples of this encoded information. If the cell was designed, then we would expect to find language-like encoded information commonly throughout biology.

The cell confirms our expectations from design. Our DNA contains incredible amounts of encoded information. Living cells transform this encoded chemical message into machines which are engineered to perform necessary biochemical functions. The conversion of DNA into protein relies upon a software-like system of commands and biochemical codes. This is an information processing system which Bill Gates has described as “like a computer program, but far, far more advanced than any software we’ve ever created.” Moreover, the machines in our cell are often said to resemble human design machines—such as the rotary engine found in the bacterial flagellum. This is powerful evidence that an intelligence was at work.

I have always openly acknowledged that I am a Christian, and thus I believe the designer is the God of the Bible. Thus Adkins assertions that I am “disingenuous” about my beliefs about the identity of the designer are thus baseless. What Adkins doesn’t realize is that his position is self-contradictory: evolutionists cannot on the one hand attack creationists as unscientific for referring to a “supernatural” of “divine” creator, and then on the other hand slander design theorists as “deceptive” for refusing to appeal to unscientific explanations like the supernatural. Rather, design theorists should be applauded for constructing an approach to studying intelligent causes in the history of life which does not stray into unscientific territory.

Many design theorists, including myself, believe the designer is God. But that is my personal religious belief and not a proposition of the scientific theory of intelligent design. The explanatory category of an “intelligence” is a valid scientific form of explanation because we have much empirical experience with how intelligent agents operate. The observed products of intelligent agents are precisely what we observe in the cell.

The designer very well may God, or a supernatural divine being. But if that is true, it is not something which a scientific approach to studying origins can tell us. Intelligent design thus takes a bona fide scientific approach which is endorsed by a growing number of scientists and peer reviewed scientific publications.

Sincerely,

Casey Luskin

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Uncommon Descent is a moral cesspool, a festering intellectual ghetto that intoxicates and degrades its inhabitants - Stephen Matheson

  
GCT



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(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 18 2006,05:12   

I love how every time someone sees through their charade, they simply whine, "But he clearly does not understand intelligent design."  Yet, they are completely unable to articulate anything about the designer, what the designer did, how, when, anything at all.  It's either unsaid because of the implications, or these people are so incompetent that they can't get their "scientific" theory into the stage of hypothesis.  It's obviously the former, but I think the latter may be true as well (the incompetence part at least.)

  
improvius



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(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 18 2006,05:29   

"While we cannot study the “supernatural” through science, we can study intelligence. We have a huge sample dataset to tell us how intelligent agents operate: technology produced by the human race."

Then why isn't it called "Human Design"?

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Quote (afdave @ Oct. 02 2006,18:37)
Many Jews were in comfortable oblivion about Hitler ... until it was too late.
Many scientists will persist in comfortable oblivion about their Creator ... until it is too late.

  
Russell



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(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 18 2006,06:14   

Quote
Many design theorists, including myself
Is a "design theorist" someone who simply buys the proposition that there is any substance to "intelligent design theory", or someone who is an active player in developing said theory?

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Raging Bee



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(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 18 2006,06:42   

So...Luskin believes the designer/creator is the God of the Bible (who is all-powerful, all-knowing, undetectable, and above natural law and thus supernatural), but he's trying to advance a "theory" that the designer was someone or something other than his God.  And this flat public denial of his own God is supposed to prove that ID is NOT "disingenuous?"

That's bogus science and bogus religion at the same time.  Sorry, Mr. Luskin, the "disingenuous" charge still stands.

  
Russell



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Joined: April 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 18 2006,08:14   

Raging Bee - I think you misinterpret Luskin's position. I believe he says that determining whether something was designed is within the purview of science, but that determining the identity of the designer - especially if the designer turns out to be supernatural - is not. I know, it makes no sense. But he's not trying to prove The Designer is someone other than his god.

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Mr_Christopher



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(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 18 2006,08:28   

Well it would sure make God look like a goof ball if it turned out the intelligent designer was in fact a space alien or time traveler (as Behe suggest) and not God.

Someone should ask Luskin if it is not God, and in fact a space man, where does that leave God's role?

Did God create the intelligent designer or was it the other way around?

Also, does Intelligent Design Creationism Theory tackle the important question of whether or not we were designed in the intelligent designing space alien time travelers image or not?

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Uncommon Descent is a moral cesspool, a festering intellectual ghetto that intoxicates and degrades its inhabitants - Stephen Matheson

  
Raging Bee



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(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 18 2006,08:32   

Russell: he believes in a supernatural god, but he explicitly rejects supernatural explanations in order to maintain the pretense that ID is scientific.  So yes, he is, kinda sorta indirectly, denying, or pretending to deny, or pretending not to really believe, that his God is the designer.

Also, while a "designer" need not be supernatural, there's the next step, "creating" what was "designed," which does indeed require supernatural agency.  By refusing to acknowledge the obvious fact that what was "designed" was then "created" (as evidenced by the fact that it exists) Luskin is pretending that his premise doesn't really lead to the conclusion he's already reached.

How many times, in how many ways, will Luskin deny his God before the cock crows?  Any bets?

  
GCT



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Joined: Aug. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 18 2006,09:15   

Quote (Mr_Christopher @ Jan. 18 2006,14:28)
Well it would sure make God look like a goof ball if it turned out the intelligent designer was in fact a space alien or time traveler (as Behe suggest) and not God.

Someone should ask Luskin if it is not God, and in fact a space man, where does that leave God's role?

Did God create the intelligent designer or was it the other way around?

Also, does Intelligent Design Creationism Theory tackle the important question of whether or not we were designed in the intelligent designing space alien time travelers image or not?

That line of thought certainly opens them up to the charge of who designed the designer?  Are they willing to admit that an alien race could have evolved elsewhere then seeded us here?  If so, then why could we not have evolved?

Of course, they say the question of who designed the designer is off-limits, because they refuse to say anything about the designer.  How convenient.

  
Henry J



Posts: 4565
Joined: Mar. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 18 2006,09:16   

Re "Is a "design theorist" someone who simply buys the proposition that there is any substance to "intelligent design theory", or someone who is an active player in developing said theory?"
I don't see how it could be either one. For it to be an "active player" there'd have to be something being developed (which seems unlikely). For a "theorist" to be somebody who "buys into it", they'd have to have knowledge of the subject, but the subject doesn't contain any knowledge for them to have, so that's out.

Well, unless I missed something...

Henry

  
Flint



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(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 18 2006,09:54   

A "design theorist" is anyone who has any degree even remotely technical, and has more-or-less mastered the art of using scientistical jargon to disguise creationist beliefs, and can thus be pointed to in support of the claim that creationism is scientific.

Alternatively, a "design theorist" is anyone espousing creationism, that someone with creationist leanings can be persuaded is a scientist. Saying "he's a scientist" is usually sufficient validation.

  
improvius



Posts: 807
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 18 2006,10:18   

Quote (Mr_Christopher @ Jan. 18 2006,14:28)
Well it would sure make God look like a goof ball if it turned out the intelligent designer was in fact a space alien or time traveler (as Behe suggest) and not God.

Someone should ask Luskin if it is not God, and in fact a space man, where does that leave God's role?

For that matter, how could we even tell the difference between God and a technologically advanced alien or time traveler? ???

--------------
Quote (afdave @ Oct. 02 2006,18:37)
Many Jews were in comfortable oblivion about Hitler ... until it was too late.
Many scientists will persist in comfortable oblivion about their Creator ... until it is too late.

  
Mr_Christopher



Posts: 1238
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 18 2006,10:31   

Quote (improvius @ Jan. 18 2006,16:18)
Quote (Mr_Christopher @ Jan. 18 2006,14:28)
Well it would sure make God look like a goof ball if it turned out the intelligent designer was in fact a space alien or time traveler (as Behe suggest) and not God.

Someone should ask Luskin if it is not God, and in fact a space man, where does that leave God's role?

For that matter, how could we even tell the difference between God and a technologically advanced alien or time traveler? ???

Well according to scripture, God looks sort of like us.  And according to Star Trek, space aliens look more like iguanas on a real bad hair day.

So I think we'd be able to tell who is who in a line up.  Assuming of course scritpure and Star Trek are reliable sources.

Too bad this subject is off limits for ID cultists.  Talk about a science stopper, they are not allowed to dive into what/who the intelligent designer is.

Is there any other "scientific theory" other than intelligent design creationism that states

B proves A exists but you are not allowed to discuss or contemplate A.  

And of course discussing A will get you banned from Dembskis intelligent design creationism blog.  Why does the Dicovery Institute and their loyal army of true believers try to stifle free speech and scientific inquiry into the nature of the intelligent designer?

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Uncommon Descent is a moral cesspool, a festering intellectual ghetto that intoxicates and degrades its inhabitants - Stephen Matheson

  
Henry J



Posts: 4565
Joined: Mar. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 18 2006,10:45   

Re "And according to Star Trek, space aliens look more like iguanas on a real bad hair day."

Well, there we have it! The intelligent designer was a lizard. :p

That'd explain why the dinosaurs were on top for so long, and if the "designer" was standing at the wrong place when that big rock came down, why they then went extinct. :0

Henry

  
improvius



Posts: 807
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 18 2006,10:53   

"I, for one, welcome our new time-traveling iguana overlords..."

--------------
Quote (afdave @ Oct. 02 2006,18:37)
Many Jews were in comfortable oblivion about Hitler ... until it was too late.
Many scientists will persist in comfortable oblivion about their Creator ... until it is too late.

  
Russell



Posts: 1082
Joined: April 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 18 2006,11:05   

A bit beside the point, but is anyone else impressed with what a really bad writer this Luskin fellow is?  Presumably the Disco Inst must have hired him for something other than communication skills.

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Must... not... scratch... mosquito bite.

  
Mr_Christopher



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Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 18 2006,11:06   

The nice thing about PT and this forum is you don't get booted for asking logical questions that intelligent design creation begs.

Speaking of begging the question...Is the intelligent designer dead or alive?  True or False?

If he/she/it/ is still living, what is that lizard man up to nowadays?  Seriously, his last "invention" seems to be quite dated now, what it is 10s of thousands of years old or is it millions of years?  

What the heck is he doing with all his free time?  Other than snacking on small rodents and insects that is.

And is the intelligent designing lizard man made of the same irreducible complexity, DNA and encoded cells he is theorized by Dembski, Behe, et al to have invented?  Meaning did he invent himself?  

Maybe I'll send Dembski an email and ask him to break out his HP science calculator and answer that one for me.  Or maybe one of his science students at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary could answer that one for me.  I hear they have an awesome science program at ol' SBTS!

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Uncommon Descent is a moral cesspool, a festering intellectual ghetto that intoxicates and degrades its inhabitants - Stephen Matheson

  
Raging Bee



Posts: 8
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 18 2006,16:44   

Here's my (admittedly hasty) fisking of Luskin's rubbish (from my latest blog post):

'While we cannot study the "supernatural" through science, we can study intelligence. We have a huge sample dataset to tell us how intelligent agents operate: technology produced by the human race.'

Yes, and that technology bears almost no resemblance to the life-forms biologists are trying to explain. And Luskin's point is...?

'Design theorists observe that intelligent action produces large amounts of "complex and specified" information. Language and the finely-tuned, purposeful arrangement of parts in machines are prime examples of this encoded information. If the cell was designed, then we would expect to find language-like encoded information commonly throughout biology.'

The reference to "amounts" of "information" implies that "information" can be quantified; otherwise the "amount" of "information" cannot be reliably measured. This is a long-standing scam in creationist circles: they maintain that no amount of evolution or mutation can create "more" "information," but since they never define "information" or explain how, or in what units, the "quantity" of "information" can be measured, the argument is hollow.

'The conversion of DNA into protein relies upon a software-like system of commands and biochemical codes.'

I've had enough direct experience with "software" to know that there's nothing "software-like" about the manufacture of protein. Does Luskin even know what the word "software" means? (Also, DNA is not "converted" into protein, but that's a minor mistake in the ID universe.)

'Moreover, the machines in our cell[s] are often said to resemble human design machines -- such as the rotary engine found in the bacterial flagellum. This is powerful evidence that an intelligence was at work.'

What "human design machines" bear any resemblance to "the machines in our cell[s]?" Luskin doesn't specify, despite the apparent importance of this point to his argument.

'Many design theorists, including myself, believe the designer is God. But that is my personal religious belief and not a proposition of the scientific theory of intelligent design.'

So why did he have to mention his belief while talking about a scientific issue?

'The explanatory category of an "intelligence" is a valid scientific form of explanation because we have much empirical experience with how intelligent agents operate.'

This sentence is pure mush. What, exactly, is an "explanatory category?" What are the other "categories?" And what good is all that "empirical experience with how intelligent agents operate," when none of those "intelligent agents" have ever designed -- let alone built -- anything similar to the life-forms found on Earth?

All of these superficial logical flaws serve to conceal at least one fundamental flaw in Luskin's spiel: today's creationists pretend they can infer "design" without relying on supernatural explanations. But what is designed must subsequently be created (otherwise it wouldn't exist). And as long as the ID/creationist crowd fail to explain the specific means by which all of these elegantly designed life-forms were actually built (leaving no traces of the process behind that we've identified so far), then Intelligent Design will be nothing but what the software people call "vaporware."

  
sir_toejam



Posts: 846
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(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 18 2006,16:57   

Quote
Other than snacking on small rodents and insects that is


hmm, if the ID is related to an iguana, he should be herbivorous.

however, it is certainly possible that space faring iguanas might have become omnivorous, or ever carnivorous.

I haven't seen any papers published on their dietary preferences (spacebound ones, that is).

  
Stephen Elliott



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(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 18 2006,20:48   

Quote (sir_toejam @ Jan. 18 2006,22:57)
hmm, if the ID is related to an iguana, he should be herbivorous.

Eh?
I am pretty sure Iguanas are omnivorous.
There are loads of them in Belize, they did not refuse to eat meat when given it.

  
Stephen Elliott



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(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 18 2006,21:34   

These are the critters.


http://www.thewildones.org/Animals/iguana.html

  
Chris Hyland



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(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 19 2006,01:01   

More information on the Intelligent Designers = Space Aliens theory here.

  
Mr_Christopher



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(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 19 2006,02:54   

Quote (Chris Hyland @ Jan. 19 2006,07:01)
More information on the Intelligent Designers = Space Aliens theory here.

I'm glad someone else sees this.  The IDCers keep theorizing about space men but the Raleians are having coffee with them. Why does the Disco ignore this?

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Uncommon Descent is a moral cesspool, a festering intellectual ghetto that intoxicates and degrades its inhabitants - Stephen Matheson

  
GCT



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(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 19 2006,03:22   

Quote (Russell @ Jan. 18 2006,17:05)
A bit beside the point, but is anyone else impressed with what a really bad writer this Luskin fellow is?  Presumably the Disco Inst must have hired him for something other than communication skills.

I don't know why you think he's so bad.  His job is to use science-sounding jargon, write in a complicated fashion, and try to emulate a scholarly person.  The BS might be apparent to you, but most people would sort of gloss over it and then think, "He uses big words, so he must be smart, and he must be right; plus he's talkin' 'bout god, so I'm all fer it."

  
Chris Hyland



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(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 19 2006,04:17   

Quote
Why does the Disco ignore this?

Im pretty sure knowing the identity and purpose of the designer is the last thing they want to happen. As soon as ID becomes testable it's finished. Although they'd still try and get it taught in schools.

  
Russell



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Joined: April 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 19 2006,09:28   

Quote
I don't know why you think he's so bad.  His job is to use science-sounding jargon, write in a complicated fashion, and try to emulate a scholarly person.  The BS might be apparent to you, but most people would sort of gloss over it and then think, "He uses big words, so he must be smart, and he must be right; plus he's talkin' 'bout god, so I'm all fer it."
Take a look at the opening sentence; it makes no sense:
Quote
"I'm glad that..."
Why should what follows make him glad, sad or indifferent? And, more to the point, why would anyone care? And what fraction of Adkins's letter had consisted of quoting Luskin? Does anyone care about that?? In fact, it sounds like  grade-school playground rhetoric where the whole beside-the-point point is to inject some abrasiveness into the exchange and accuse this Adkins fellow of "attacking" him and the Disco Inst. Wasting space in a letter to an editor, where concise and to the point is the whole idea, is bad enough. But wasting space to reveal the mind of a petulant 10 year old - especially in your opening sentence - that takes a really bad writer.
Quote
Moreover, the machines in our cell are often said to resemble human design machines—such as the rotary engine found in the bacterial flagellum. This is powerful evidence that an intelligence was at work.
Oh dear. That wasn't so good, was it?
Quote
Thus Adkins assertions that I am “disingenuous” about my beliefs about the identity of the designer are thus baseless.
How much thus could a thuschuck chuck if a thuschuck could chuck thus?
Quote
What Adkins doesn’t realize is that his position is self-contradictory...
Unlike most holders of self-contradictory positions, who do realize it? Again, it's not just uneconomical; it sounds like playground rhetoric. If you think the position is self-contradictory, just say so; don't embarrass yourself with clumsy swipes at your opponent's mental status.
Quote
Many design theorists, including myself...
I contend it takes a really bad writer not to notice how pompous and ridiculous this comes off.
Quote
The observed products of intelligent agents are precisely what we observe in the cell.
When begging the question is, intentionally or otherwise, obscured by the complexity of the argument, it's a logical fallacy. But  to display it this baldly, this clumsily... that takes a really bad writer.
Quote
The designer very well may God, or a supernatural divine being.
Leaving aside the lack of a verb, isn't that rather inartfully redundant?
Quote
Intelligent design thus takes a bona fide scientific approach which is endorsed by a growing number of scientists and peer reviewed scientific publications.
Maybe this isn't Luskin's fault. It may be that the Disco Inst contractually requires all of its lackeys to include those buzzwords in every communication. But, aside from being just plain false, to end the letter with such a glaring non sequitur, that takes a really bad writer.

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GCT



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(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 19 2006,09:38   

Russell, I think you misunderstood.

His writing sucks.  I totally agree with that.  What I was lamenting is that it's good enough for the intended audience.  You and I can parse his writing all we want and find all the mistakes, but the average Joe person that he is writing for probably won't.  The intent is to overwhelm the reader with big words and fancy-sounding language in order to intimidate the reader into thinking that the author must be very smart and therefore must be right.  At this, the Disco boys are pretty good, Luskin included.

  
Russell



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Joined: April 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 19 2006,11:00   

GCT - actually, I did know what you meant, and I agree. It just jumps out at me that, while all the DI spokespersons are mendacious, evasive, and usually annoying, none of the others stand out, so far as I've noticed, as really bad writers.

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Must... not... scratch... mosquito bite.

  
GCT



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(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 20 2006,07:54   

Russell,
Bruce Chapman sucks too, at least the stuff I've read that he's written.

Edit: And Jonathan Witt isn't the best writer I've ever seen either.

  
Wesley R. Elsberry



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Joined: May 2002

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 20 2006,17:39   

Luskin's latest.

Check out the next to last sentence: "That's why this debate not over." That is verbatim.

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"You can't teach an old dogma new tricks." - Dorothy Parker

    
sir_toejam



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(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 20 2006,18:20   

Quote
At least not until the NCSE goes to court and fights against the actual version of intelligent design.


"er, I mean whatever the version is that we make up that week, anyway."

"no, wait, scratch that... what i REALLY mean is 'whatever version we post hoc onto whatever criticism arises of whatever our current version is... at whatever time said criticism was made.'"

"yeah, that's the ticket"

  
Russell



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Joined: April 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 21 2006,09:37   

"That's why this debate not over"  quoth the Black Knight to King Arthur

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