Last week, I posted this video of Richard Dawkins explaining the circuitous route of the laryngeal nerve. Instead of going straight to the larynx, this nerve behaves like a crazy straw, going down the neck, looping around the heart, and then returning to the larynx. To demonstrate the absurdity of this design with an extreme example, Dawkins participates in a dissection of a giraffe! I posted this to my social network with the innocuous comment, “Great example of why “intelligent design” just fails as an explanation.”
At least, I thought it was innocuous. I also thought that the term “intelligent design” was well-understood to mean A)that we were designed, as opposed to evolving, and B)that we were designed in an intelligent way. Surely, if this is designed, it was not done so intelligently. Evolution – in this case, of necked animals evolving from neckless fish – is clearly a more reasonable solution.
Are you assuming that intelligent design mutually excludes any thesis about evolution? I do not think this is a direct refutation of any contemporary ID arguments (like irreducible complexity) or any of the older, more “classic,” teleological arguments like Paley’s. The former has no problem accepting that such a nerve evolved from older irreducible parts,
If it doesn’t exclude evolution, what does ID add? Note, this question was never answered.
that latter concedes that there are imperfections in designs, but that this does not detract us from the motivation that it was designed.
Why did that intelligence repeat this particular imperfection in everything that evolved from fish?!
This isn’t to say the argument is a bad one. So far, Dawkins seems to be attacking some simple-minded creationist thesis, and not the intelligent design thesis found in philosophical and scientific fields. Perhaps it would be educational for your FB status readers if you included at least a snippet of the argument you propose Dawkins is refuting.
Note how he says that I’m attacking simple-minded creationist theses, as if A)There is any other kind, and B)That’s a self-evidently pointless endeavor. Note also the assertion that there is an ‘intelligent design thesis found in philosophical and scientific fields,’ and then challenges me to produce that. This will be important later.
I am only trying to set up ID in such a way that it isn’t a straw man (I assume that those who risk their careers on such arguments are not complete morons). Indeed, the scope is about genesis.
In an attempt to make sure I was not setting up a strawman of ID, he sets up a reverse strawman (easier to defend) version of ID that is limited to abiogenesis. Sure, he goes back on this later, identifying bacteria flagellum as intelligently designed, as though anyone thinks bacteria with flagella were the first ex nihilo creatures, but at this point in the conversation, he’s already narrowed the scope of ID in such a way that he has ruled out anything that could show evidence of design!
Anything that can be called simple-minded apparently qualifies as a strawman of ID. If we take for granted the assumption that who risk their careers are not complete morons, any moronic argument can be dismissed with No True Intelligent Design Thesis. That’s what’s going on here – not any strawman on my part.
More to come in Fauxlosophy: Part 2