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Glen Davidson

Posts: 1100
Joined: May 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Nov. 25 2011,12:23   

At Panda's Thumb I posted this comment:

I was thinking about how ordinary it really is to infer derivation (in relation to comments on this thread), and how oddly IDiots deny it, so I Googled one of Stephen Meyer’s references to it. He also mentions it in his book Signature in the Cell, but I didn’t want to write that out. So here’s Meyer noting how we infer derivation, only he weirdly calls it detection of “design”:

STEVE: No. You just put words into my mouth. I was saying that the scientists in many fields -– you and I were talking about plagiarism before we came on the air -– it’s possible now with programs to detect papers that students turn in that have been plagiarized. Well that’s a form of inferring to design. Kind of sneaky malevolent design, but when you see a string of characters that match up from two different strings, highly improbable arrangement, that match, we call that a specification and you have improbability in specification, we design people say that indicates intelligence. Well, that’s a form of reasoning that is not only – let me finish…

Only in the loosest and most question-begging sense (in what way is it “design”?) is this detecting “design.” It’s detecting derivation, and if we can assume derivation in his case, why not in the case of life?

Life doesn’t “look designed” except in a very amorphous and agency-biased manner, but it looks derived through and through, and all reasonable tests for such derivation support that inference. Behe accepts that (without accepting that it is the limits of known mechanisms of derivation and adaptation that give us the best indication of evolution), while Meyer apparently is more of a traditional creationist, nevertheless trotting out the fact that we can detect derivation readily (with changes, certainly, in the case of human judgment) without understanding how that speaks volumes for evolutionary evidence.

Follow the evidence they say, and then mold the evidence to fit their presuppositions, not accepting what is obvious from that evidence.

I know that this doesn't speak to any specifics here, it's just general to what creationists do, shoehorn anything into creationism or "design," even great examples of how we do detect derivation reliably.  Or should we suppose that God just copied thoughts from person to person, being the source of all truth, as several religious plagiarizers have explained their obviously derivative works?  

Would he have accepted a magical explanation for "so-called plagiarism" when he was a professor?  If not, why does he accept, indeed, relish, one for all of the derivation found in life?

Glen Davidson


Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of coincidence---ID philosophy

  366 replies since Nov. 08 2011,06:46 < Next Oldest | Next Newest >  

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