Design arguments and theistic confusions…//Some links on the critique of Darwinism

Comments/update: The ID critics of Darwinism have mounted a strong set of critiques of Darwinism (as have I and over the same time period since the nineties of the last century) and this has invoked all the issues of design and theistic theology. The ID group is careful here and does not directly invoke creationism. And the ‘design’ implications of Darwinian critique do not constitute anything like a demonstration of theistic foundations. Our critique of ‘intelligent design’ has been focused on a subtle critique of design thinking starting with a Kantian critique of attempted proofs of the existence of god, and on a clarification of the term ‘intelligent’ applied to design.

We have a large number of posts on this question here:

If we consider Dembski’s design inference it raises the issues of specification (using our own version since the ID ists always claim we have understood it), which works directly in the classic design inference about Paley’s watch, which we can specify directly (the designer is a human), but with the issue of ‘god’ we don’t have that option because we can’t specify the designer as ‘god’,  a term with no direct specification. We can’t be sure the term ‘intelligent’ is appropriate because we cannot safely predicate divinity with superstitious properties. We cannot use the Old Testament for that! The Old Testament wavers between injunctions to not use the term ‘god’ but instead a glyph, IHVH, and savage and bloodthirsty Canaanite divinity/ies that demand burnt offerings (with vestigial intimations of Canaanite child sacrifice, cf the vestigial Abraham/Isaac myth). Not much help there! Nor can we adopt demands or the option of ‘faith’. The spontaneous sense of design and/or intelligent design that we get in concrete instances  becomes entirely ambiguous with theistic ‘intuitions’ which are powerfully biased by prior beliefs, which are misleading. We can easily fall into the trap of ‘theological imagination’ and interpret design in delusive ways. And the issue can certainly fool us: in the age of AI the point sinks in, so what is our ‘designer’, a cosmic chat bot in the sky might show itself to ‘seem’ intelligent?!

The problem in part is the obsessive attempt (cf. Richard Dawkins) to use natural selection to scotch any kind of intelligent design argument. That doesn’t work either. We always end up with ‘spooky design’ intuitions which we can’t carry to a conclusion. So design is clearly a very real issue and Darwinism is undermined by its implications. But those implication in theology are always stopped in their tracks by the failure and inability to carry through the argument to any conclusions.


The links for articles cited today in one place. The Darwin paradigm is starting to fade away, but not yet in the mainstream.
In some way the design argument has backfired and I hope to discuss the issue of design in world history. The problem is that we see ‘design’ in history but this via the eonic model undermines the claims for theistic historicism.

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