Monday, January 30, 2006

Hall of Mirrors

Thanks to Talk Politics, I can now say with confidence that my opposition to the idea of intelligent design can be summed up by describing it as a reductio ad absurdum. In the article linked in that post, ID flag waver Stephen Meyer says:
Whenever we encounter complex systems - whether integrated circuits or internal combustion engines - and we know how they arose, invariably a designing intelligence played a role.*
So, is the intelligent designer a "complex system"? Complex entities cannot form spontaneously according to the "theory". If we accept that a designer must be a complex entity, and it seems impossible to avoid in this "theory", who designed him/her/it? And who designed the designer? And who designed the designer of the designer? And so on ad infinitum.

Intelligent design doesn't answer the questions which it claims need to be addressed. It just moves them into the realm of the unknowable. Science? No, I think not.

And anyway, it is clear that intelligence does not always play a role in the creation of complex systems. Look, I have scientific proof and everything. Complex system but a definite lack of intelligent design. Res ipsa loquitur.

* Btw, I could be wrong but by adding the stipulation "and we know how they arose", isn't Meyer also being highly disingenuous? If we know how they arose, chances are we made them (as in the examples he gives) so they will by definition be designed. If we take out that clause we get "Whenever we encounter complex systems, invariably a designing intelligence played a role". Hmm, most dubious. What about a tree? It's pretty complex. But it wasn't designed by an intelligence. Unless you believe in ID. And an infinite series of designers. And now, I'm getting dizzy.

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