Saturday, July 15, 2006

William Dembski is another phony.

Wow, what can I say about Uncommon Descent that hasn't already been said a million times?

This post is pretty funny. Expect me to ridicule more posts in the future.

The design of lightning and thunder


An objector to ID posed the following question to a friend of a friend:

“It seems the system by which thunder and lightning is generated (composed of the sun, water on the ground to heat up and evaporate, thundercloud, air, ground) would qualify as “designed” since it is a system of several well-matched, separate, interacting parts accomplishing a function beyond the individual components and in which removing one piece does away with the function. Allen argued that since it “obviously wasn’t designed” the method of design detection given in the book is fundamentally flawed and gives many false positives. Is this an incorrect use of irreducible complexity, and if so, how?”

There are lot’s of problems here: (1) IC (irreducible complexity) presupposes a basic primary purpose/function of a system — what is the basic purpose/function here? (making loud noises, illuminating the earth, generating heat, …); (2) the question confuses the necessary conditions for a system existing at all with its parts (the sun is no more “part” of lightning and thunder than water is “part” of the bacterial flagellum); (3) IC needs SC (specified complexity) to nail down design, which means that the parts coming together have to be highly improbable — ignoring the last point, what is the probability of the sun, the earth, the evaporation of water, etc.? Do they not, on materialist principles, follow by necessity from deeper physical-chemical processes and laws? (4) Where are the independently given patterns — specifications — that allow the explanatory filter to operate and thus, according to my theory, implicate design?

Filed under: Intelligent DesignWilliam Dembski @ 7:02 am

Isn't the function of lightning to balance charge between the atmosphere and the ground? Wouldn't another function of lightning be to start forest fires that clear out a bunch of old or dead trees? The function of thunder is to scare my dog and tell him to seek shelter from the rain. And of course the sun is part of the lightning mechanism. You can't have lightning on Earth without heat from the sun just like a bacterial flagellum cannot operate without water (ATP synthase will not "operate" without water.) And Michael Behe's definition of Irreducible Complexity does not include any mention of Specified Complexity, an invention of Dembski's tacked onto IC later. And notice that Dembski takes a challenge to the definition of IC, then muddies his explanation by bringing up the Explanatory Filter and Specified Complexity, which have nothing to do with Behe's original definition of IC. It's remarkable that so many people follow this bafoon.

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