Wednesday, November 29, 2006

William Dembski at the Panda's Thumb

The Panda's Thumb relates an exchange with William Dembski in which he is asked to operationalize ID in terms of probability calculations. His answer is nothing short of astounding:

As for your example, I’m not going to take the bait. You’re asking me to play a game: “Provide as much detail in terms of possible causal mechanisms for your ID position as I do for my Darwinian position.” ID is not a mechanistic theory, and it’s not ID’s task to match your pathetic level of detail in telling mechanistic stories. If ID is correct and an intelligence is responsible and indispensable for certain structures, then it makes no sense to try to ape your method of connecting the dots. True, there may be dots to be connected. But there may also be fundamental discontinuities, and with IC systems that is what ID is discovering.

If it is not a mechanistic theory, what kind of theory is it? How does it rise above the charge of "just so story" that he claims for Darwinian evolution? Once again, how is ID operationalized? How would these discontinuities manifest themselves? ID seems repeatedly unable to address, and hopes no one will notice, this elephant in the living room.

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