Saturday, September 27, 2014


How to Satisfy a God

Sorry I've been absent for a while and for this just being a drive-by. But the Discoveryless Institute has just pointed to a video of a very uncomfortable William ("Wild Bill") Dembski trying to "explain" why 300+ years of restricting science to materialistic testing is wrong: William Dembski Explains Why Intelligent Design Does Not, and Cannot, Make Sense Under Materialist Premises.

The DI laughingly calls this a "satisfying explanation."

How "satisfied" are you?

One minor problem with Dembski's account. He claims that he has developed a method of design detection, and "...then applied that to real world systems, especially biological systems." I've read the two books he cited, The Design Inference and No Free Lunch, and there's no such application of his methodology in them. As far as I know, his methodology has never been formally applied to any biological system. I'd welcome correction on that (with appropriate citation).
Ugh. /sub
It is interesting that Dembski admits that ID does not make sense within a traditional perspective (what he calls a materialist framework). So he says his book as a way of tilting the scales to favor ID.

I'm underwhelmed.

However, I have ordered his book (before watching the video). I did so with some reluctance, because I don't like handing money over to Discovery Institute. However, given the hype, the book needs serious examination and appropriate criticism.
As I see it, he is suggesting a revolution:

That explanations be considered irrelevant.

Not that materialistic, or naturalistic, or scientific explanations are irrelevant, but explanations tout court.

For he has nothing to offer in the way of telling us what happens, when, where, how or why, that results in the variety of life - rather than any of the infinity of other ways that it could have turned out. He has, memorably, told us that he is not going to take the "bait" and provide a "pathetic level of detail".

If he feels that it is more important to believe in God than to offer explanations, how can anybody convince him otherwise? Indeed, who would want to?

However, he also seems to think that belief in God (the Creator, Sustainer, and Redeemer) is incompatible with offering explanations. I think that there are people who think that it is possible and important to respond to that.

"Design includes among its recognized meanings pattern, arrangement, or form, and thus can be a synonym for information. Moreover, intelligence can be a general term for denoting causes that have teleological effects."
Uncommon Descent: from Dembski's book

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