The Loom

i-b5f4d574e07726085519ca6ffa718947-pinto.jpgWell, it’s been worth the wait. The week-long attack from the intelligent design crowd on me explodes in a final fireball of absurdity. Read more in the final update of my response to the Pinto-loving Discovery Institute.


  1. #1 BC
    November 20, 2006

    Luskin bolsters his case for intelligent design by telling us that designers re-use designs.

    The problem with this is the fact that “common design” only seems to appear when there is evidence for inheritance through common ancestry (a fact that is a very robustly shown through empirical data). On the other hand, when we look at the anti-freeze proteins of Antarctic notothenioid and cod, fish which are separated by hundreds of millions of years (probably didn’t get the protein from a common ancestor), we find that while the proteins are vaguely similar, the genetic sequences are entirely different. So, why didn’t the designer “re-use designs” in this case? Clearly, they evolved the antifreeze proteins independently through a blind process of evolution, explaining the large differences between them.

    “Was the Ford Pinto, with all its imperfections revealed in crash tests, not designed?”

    The biggest problem with this argument is this: IDists are really trying to argue that God is the designer. When they admit instances of poor design, they fall back on the “poor design doesn’t mean no design”. But poor design does rule-out design by super-intelligent entities (i.e. God), thus undermining their own not-so-secret agenda – to claim that God did it. Maybe it’s me, but if someone told me that an “intelligent designer” made the ford pinto, I’d rule out God as the designer pretty quickly. I’m sure they’re hoping that other people don’t follow the logical conclusion of “poor design” and conclude that incompetent aliens did the designing instead of God.

  2. #2 Robert O'Brien
    November 22, 2006

    Was the Ford Pinto, with all its imperfections revealed in crash tests, not designed?

    Of Pintos and People

  3. #3 S. Perrault
    November 24, 2006

    As someone who studies rhetoric of science, I find this irony-rich analogy absolutely delicious. Thanks for calling attention to it.

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