Saturday, January 13, 2007

John West's Response, Part 3

My replies to John West's book Darwin's Conservatives can be found here and here. West has been writing responses to my comments. I have commented on Parts 1 and 2 of his responses. Now, he has written Part 3, which can be found here.

West does not introduce anything new in this response. I would suggest that readers look back at my replies, as well as my book, to see the points in dispute.

I would draw your attention to West's admission that proponents of ID cannot satisfy the high standards of proof that they apply to Darwinian science. ID cannot offer any testable explanations for exactly how, when, and where the intelligent designer created "irreducibly complex" mechanisms of life.

Proponents of ID do not have to do this, West says, because it is enough for them to show that "we have overwelming evidence from the natural and social worlds that intelligent causes are routinely capable of creating structures that exhibit the complex and purposeful arrangement of parts." This sentence illustrates the fallacy of equivocation that I identified in the chapter on intelligent design in my book. The equivocation is using the term "intelligent design" without specifying whether the "intelligent design" is natural or supernatural. It is true that we have overwelming evidence for human beings acting as natural intelligent causes that are routinely capable of purposeful designs. But it is not true that we have overwelming evidence for supernatural intelligent causes that routinely create purposeful designs. By using the term "intelligent design" without distinguishing between natural or human intelligent design and supernatural or divine intelligent design, the proponents of ID employ equivocal language to make it look as though inferring supernatural causality in the natural world were a matter of "routine" experience, when in fact, of course, it is not.

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