Questions you can't ask

Apparently there are some questions you just can’t ask. The cdesign proponentsists maintain that the truth is being stifled by their not being allowed ask "difficult" questions of evolutionary biology. Yet we need to remember that supporters of intelligent design have questions that they avoid, often by censorship of the kind they accuse mainstream science. Witness DaveScot over at Uncommon Descent:

Permutations of the question "Who designed the designer?" are trite, easily addressed, and if you read the moderation rules you’ll find that comments using this and other trite arguments are deleted. There is not enough data to make any determination of who designed the designer. When and if we can identify the designer of organic life on this planet we might have some data to work with in determining the origin of that agency. Until that situation changes, maybe SETI will give us some data someday, there’s no point in asking the question over and over again.

At least Dembski admits the truth: "The Designer of intelligent design is, ultimately, the Christian God" and I think we can assume that he doesn’t believe the "Christian God" was designed. DaveScot’s statement is just a prevarication aimed at avoiding answering the question.

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The questions that the ID advocates are not answering are the traditional 6 W's:

What was designed? Individuals, organs, functions, populations, ecological communities? What sorts of things are not designed?

When does design take place? Thousands of years ago, millions, or billions? Or is it still taking place? Does it take place at birth, or during development of the embryo?

How does design happen? Is it "from nothing", or it is a transformation of already existing things? Does it follow the laws of nature?

Why? Why would there be the complex, specified pattern of the "tree of life", with such details as the human body having its place as a close partner with those of chimps, other apes, other mammals? WHy is there more care taken for the generic bacterial flagellum than a healthy genetic inheritance for individual humans?

Who? Is there any prospect that the "big tent" version of ID will ever be able to tell us anything about the designers, if any? How many of them, whether they are still around, how they compare and contrast with "space aliens"?


Without answers to the 6 W's, ID doesn't come up to the standards of an essay in secondary school.

To paraphrase the UD comment re the 'trite' question of who designed the designer:
Infinite regress stops when I say it does! Now go away, or I will taunt you another time.

I am a Christian and have been for 30 years and a science lover and have been for over 30 years. It's nice to see a civil discussion here. I have come to the place where I believe that God is never going to be proven in a test tube or by a formula or equation. Conversely science is always going to have questions with no answer so far. Let's face it, that is part of the excitement of science. We are never going to run out of questions. These things being so, I believe the most important thing is for the science camp and the God camp to agree to disagree agreeably, therefore setting the stage for amiable cooperation on the things we actually can accomplish.
Dave Briggs :~)

In the inaugural issue of "Evolution Education and Outreach" (which appears to be free online), Richard A. Richards has an article discussing how one of the problems he encounters in the acceptance of evolution rests on individuals viewing humans as exempt from ecology and evolution - technology will always overcome resource limitation and we are not animals.
This is why someone like Phil Skell, the only NAS member to sign on to the "dissent list", can dismiss evolution as irrelevant - it does not apply in the day-to-day working lives of biologists because it is an "explanatory" theory. When I asked him if he could teach or had taught chemistry without atomic theory, I received no reply.

"The Designer of intelligent design is, ultimately,...." It's don't ask, don't tell.

By Bruce Thompson (not verified) on 31 Jan 2008 #permalink