Re: Dembski and Nelson at MIT and Tufts

Massie (
Fri, 02 Apr 1999 13:36:43 -0800

"Howard J. Van Till" wrote:

> Bert Massie writes:
> "Theism and design do not depend on how God implemented."
> My reply:
> Bert, that depends on what your operative definition of "design" is. For
> some ID proponents, it appears that some very specific claims about
> implementation are included in the definition. That's what I have long been
> trying to get them to admit publicly, clearly, and candidly.
> At the moment I'm not arguing either for or against ID. I am merely trying
> to get its proponents to put all of their cards on the table. Until then,
> there's no game to play.
> I repeat, the meaning of the term "intelligent design" is *not*
> self-evident and *must* be clearly and candidly defined before any claims
> re ID can be meaningfully evaluated.
> Respectfully,
> Howard Van Till

Who owns the definition? Since we can agree that no one does then everyone is
free to propose their favorate view on these words just like the scale of use
of the word evolution from micro to macro to actually in disguise,

Perhaps rather than issuing a challenge for a definition one could gather a
range of view and do what the botonists do which is to categorize. It appears
that you want to flush out a lot of baggage being hung on the elemental concept
and this is a worthwhile task.

However, I think you are asking the wrong question. I know what design is; it
is the result or output of a designer. I, the designer, design a bridge and
the output is a set of drawings called a design. So, design is the blueprint
or description. What is at issue is whether there is sufficient evidence to
maintain that what we experience in the natural world mandates a view that it
is too improbable to happen by chance and must be the RESULT of design and
therefore a designer.

Let me try at a definition for you of what I see is the crux:

"Analysis of the construction and operation of physical and life processes and
statistical processes and allowable phase space (meaning all units of space and
time) leads one to the conclusion that our existence cannot be explained by
randomness without belief in an infinity which can only be put into place by
speculation and never by direct evidence. Therefore, the simplest explanation
for the universe and life is that the fune tuning and structure (initial
conditions) were put into place exactly by an unknown outside entity."

This to me is the most elemental view and I am certain that it could be refined
in wording.

Now, we appendage issues of how the outside entity did all this but while I
believe that the physics and biology and so forth compelling to we look outside
of stochastic processes one cannot through a microscope see the nature of a