Dispatches from the Creation Wars

Answering the ID Quiz

Vincent Torley at Uncommon Descent offers a short quiz about intelligent design, so let’s answer it.

1. On a scale of 0 (diehard disbeliever) to 10 (firm believer), how would you rate your level of belief in Intelligent Design? (Minimal Definition of Intelligent Design: The idea that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, and not by an undirected process.)

That’s not a “minimal” definition of intelligent design, it’s a deceptive definition. Substitute “God” for “an intelligent cause” and it would be accurate. And the answer is 0.

2. What do you regard as the best argument for Intelligent Design?

There are none. The central premise of ID is a logical fallacy that requires misrepresenting the evidence in order to reach a predetermined conclusion.

3. What do you regard as the best argument against Intelligent Design?

See above. Every ID argument is just a newly gussied-up version of the same old creationist tropes that have been disproved many times over.

4. I’d like you to think about the arguments for Intelligent Design. Obviously they’re not perfect. Exactly where do you think these arguments need the most work, to make them more effective?

This is a bit like asking what you could do to make Celine Dion less annoying. If she didn’t exist, she’d be less annoying. Same for ID — the only answer is to drop those bad arguments and accept reality.

5. Now I’d like you to think about the arguments against Intelligent Design. Obviously they could be improved. Exactly where do you think these arguments need the most work, to make them more effective?

They don’t need to be improved, they are supported by reality.

6. (a) If you’re an ID advocate or supporter, what do you think is the least bad of the various alternatives that have been proposed to Intelligent Design, as explanations for the specified complexity found in living things and in the laws of the cosmos? (e.g. The multiverse [restricted or unrestricted?]; Platonism; the laws of the cosmos hold necessarily, and they necessarily favor life; pure chance; time is an illusion, so CSI doesn’t increase over time.)

That’s quite a straw man he’s constructed there.

(b) If you’re an ID opponent or skeptic, can you name some explanations for life and the cosmos that you would regard as even more irrational than Intelligent Design? (e.g. Everything popped into existence out of absolutely nothing; the future created the past; every logically possible world exists out there somewhere; I am the only being in the cosmos and the external world is an illusion requiring no explanation; only minds are real, so the physical universe is an illusion requiring no explanation.)

I’d say those are all about equally irrational.