Update 2: Dembski has done a series of interesting posts on ID at Evolutionary News, already cited here today. I would challenge both Dembski (and/or the IDists) and the Darwinians to look at the eonic effect and eonic model (either Decoding World History or World History and the Eonic Effect. In fact both sides would afraid to do so. They dare not look at the eonic effect/model. The Darwinists will lose their theory and the ID-ists will blow the Old Testament out of the water via the data on ancient Israel in the middle (Axial) band. The Israelites are not fully understood by me but their creation of a kind of cargo cult was really in part about discovering the eonic effect in their own time, from ca. 900 to 600 BCE. From the perspective of the eonic model that period is truly amazing, and did create a form of monotheism, but it wasn’t the result of ‘god’ acting history. In fact in the same time frame, an atheist and a theistic religion come into being in parallel. That suggests our ‘mystery’ is beyond god/no-god. A real humdinger.
The terms may have misled some, eons? etc…But that makes no difference. The term eonic effect simply means the chronology of the history since Sumer/Egypt and in the parallel data of the second stage, sometimes mislabeled the Axial Age. It is a strange non-random pattern that shows design. And it looks VERY intelligent. Almost all the great innovations in world history are system inductions by the eonic series. Shocking realization. think Dembski wins the argument here (but not against me, I wasn’t however against ID as such, only its theological take on the Bible). But I put the term ‘intelligent’ in quotes because it has nothing to refer to. The ID folks won the argument but lost the war. In fact, its seems the Israelites originally refused to use the term ‘god’, a strange resemblance to the first paragraph of the Tao Te Ching.
Update: one should study the eonic effect as a set of historical facts with no theory. We see a non-random pattern, that is ‘design’. And it looks intelligent. But wait, isn’t it superintelligence: it can seed art, religion, politics, great literatures, and in fact, science itself, in the Greek Archaic,… etc, etc.. on schedule in a dynamic rhythm…. Is there a continuous spectrum from intelligence to superintelligence, or a distinction we can draw in detail? Here we find the catch with a simple explanation, maybe: creative energy. Such an energy induces creativity. But we are stuck again, what is creative energy? But at least we see in a very specific case the historical ‘intelligent design’ can’t be reduced to any kind of theology, We can slip away from an ID argument in this case, maybe. Still the eonic effect shows ‘intelligent’ design, with the term in quotes because we don’t know what it refers to. Study the eonic effect in detail (not so simple,a hundred books minimum might be a start). Many difficulties stand in the way: what is the history of religion in India from 5000 BCE to era of Buddha? What is the relation of Egyptian religion to early Christianity (if any)? Hundreds of questions like that haunt the effort. But in rough terms we can see a definite non-random pattern, which is equivalent to ‘design’, or probably a teleological process.
This is a core Intelligent Design argument: very engaging, but there still seems to be a trap. The issue of complex specification jumps between categories: intelligence in man, and ‘intelligence’ in….??nature? god? The complex specification jumps from a known category to one that is unknown. The trap is also in the external theology that is then taken as part of the specification background. The problem is that we can’t take what is claimed as a referent to be, say, the Old Testament divinity. That would be a fallacy, surely. The ID group is careful not to do that directly but it is clear that in a cultural context the ID argument takes as referent the idea of a divinity, a personal divinity at that. A thousand sermons throughout the Bible Belt take it that way, as the ID group smiles. So that would be a gross distortion. But won’t any referent be like that, or else simply ambiguous: intelligent designer? Who/What? This breaks the ID argument, however clever Dembski’s argument seems to be. Designs of man show intelligent design, thus by analogy: man:intelligence=??:intelligence…??? Nature shows intelligence implies, what?
Still let us consider that what is not proven is very suggestive, but a mystery. Nothing in theology is really adequate to that tantalizing sense. This argument is really close to that of Hegel/Marx and neither side could really close their case.
So the problem is we can think that nature shows intelligence but we can’t specify an entity for that, like man. etc, etc…
o summarize, scientific discoveries of the past century have shown life is fundamentally based upon: A vast amount of CSI digitally encoded in a biochemical language in our DNA. A computer-like system of information processing where cellular machinery reads, interprets, and executes the commands programmed into DNA to produce functional proteins. Irreducibly complex molecular machines composed of finely tuned proteins. Exquisite fine-tuning of universal laws and constants.Where, in our experience, do language-based digital code, computer-like programming, machines, and other high CSI structures come from? They have only one known source: intelligence. The argument for design briefly sketched here is entirely empirically based. It offers positive evidence for design by finding, in nature, the types of information and complexity that we know, from experience, derive from intelligent causes. (