Friday, February 15, 2008

Davescot unwittingly reveals why we must inquire as to the nature of the Designer

In yet another case of Intelligent Design proponents unknowingly destroying their own argument, Davescot blathers on about how one can make a "design inference" with regard to a change he made in a URL of an article that made the link not work:

"We all know that bits can flip at random in computer data from various causes just like they can flip at random in DNA from various causes. This wasn’t a complex mutation. A single letter changed. Yet the Darwinist STILL made a design inference. That’s the power of specification. The mutation that occured was specified in that it served a purpose. In this case it served to make the offensive article inaccessable from Uncommon Descent. Even with a very small level of complexity to work with the commenter successfully employed the concept of CSI - complex specified information - and reached a correct design inference.

Here we have classic "seeing what you want to see" reasoning. The design inference wasn't drawn from an analysis of purposefulness. Even completely random errors can serve a purpose, especially one that prevents a process like a link from functioning. For all we knew it was a simple typo.

What tipped people off here is what Davescot and the IDers have banned from the discussion: the nature of the designer. Those who drew the design inference did so based on extensive knowledge of the designer, in this case, that he's a clueless hack who is not above trying to censor or make access difficult to information that counters his arguments. Once one is aware of Davescot's distaste for the article, his history of memory hole use, and the fact that the typo in question was more than one key away from the correct one, one can easily and logically draw the conclusion that Davescot was monkeying around again. No pseudoscience of CSI was necessary.

This is similar to what archaeologists do when determining the uses of ancient tools. Their knowledge of the designers is crucial in their analysis. One cannot infer that a sick with bristle on the end is a toothbrush without first understanding the designers had teeth that needed cleaning. Likewise, a situation like that with Davescot could easily be interpreted as a simple error coming from another designer, whether it served a purpose or not.

It is also important to point out that despite the logic of the design inference drawn, it could easily be in error. There could simply be a mindless, nonpurposeful, cause for the perceived design, of which we are ignorant. One cannot draw a design inference based on one's inability to think of an alternative explanation. Yet this is exactly what the IDers ask us to do.

The hypocrites here are not scientists who make design inferences. That is so common it is passe'. The hypocrites are the ID proponents who insist they can draw reliable design inferences without knowledge of the designer, who is, of course, the Christian God, which is why they so desperately cling to the notion that we should not inquire into the nature of the designer. It gives their religious agenda away.


PTET said...

DaveScot is nominally agnostic, remember. His motivation was to stick a knife in the back of his Uncommon Descent colleague Denyse O'Leary.

ScienceAvenger said...

I find Davescot's agnosticism about as convincing as Bill O'Reilly's independence.