Monday, May 5, 2008

The "evidence" for ID

An ID apologist writing to the Eugene Register-Guard claims to be impressed with the "scientific evidence" and then proceeds to deliver five arguments that could have come straight from the 12th Century:

1) Something is eternal. If there had ever been absolutely nothing, that condition would have persisted.

2) Biological life is evidently not eternal, being represented by organisms that without exception come from similar temporarily living organisms and then die.

3) Matter-energy is evidently not eternal, as it inescapably spends itself with every energy transaction at a net cost to the whole system. This process cannot have gone on eternally, because it would culminate in the eventual “heat death” of the universe in some finite amount of time (barring the oscillating universe mythology that belongs somewhere beyond science fiction).

4) Our consistent experience is that mind manipulates matter, not vice-versa, suggesting that an eternal mind having formed matter is more plausible than matter having created information-rich structures such as the human mind. Here, and with the next point, the “design demands a designer” argument fits.

5) Our consistent experience is that every effect must have an adequate cause. Thus, the universe viewed as a sequence of causes and effects points back to a first cause which is itself uncaused (see point No. 1 above). Just as logically, the universe viewed as a single huge effect also requires a sufficient cause outside itself.

Abstract logic proceeding from first principles - you can argue your way to anything you like that way. Anything. That's why science was such an advance in knowledge. It involves accepting, once and for all, that the world is too complex to be understood by pure human cogitation, so you have no choice but to just look closer and see what it's actually doing.

Ironically, ID defenders argue that the world is too complex to be uncreated, but simple enough to be understood though pure reasoning. The record suggests otherwise. Socrates, Aristotle, and Plato were some smart guys and promoted thinking as a worthy activity, but I don't know that they left us with any knowledge. And who wants his doctor to be a follower of Galen's four-humors model?


James Hanley said...

"Our consistent experience is that mind manipulates matter, not vice-versa"

Sure, that's why we don't have any alcoholics, drug addicts, chocoholics, chain smokers, etc.

Scott Hanley said...

Yeah, that claim struck me as especially bizarre. I can't imagine thinking about it for even two seconds without realizing I needed a better argument.

Sometimes I think folks believe that, if something is true, then just any supporting argument you can make must also be true.