Re: Dembski and Nelson at MIT and Tufts

Massie (
Sat, 03 Apr 1999 08:05:40 -0800

"Howard J. Van Till" wrote:

> On the matter of defining "intelligent design," Bert Massie asks:
> >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,
> >evolutionism.
> You are correct to say that no one owns the definition of 'design.'. All the
> more important, therefore, that each person who uses the term provide their
> particular operative definition for it.
> Bert again:
> >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.
> Right, in contemporary usage, 'design' is an act of the mind--the thoughtful
> conceptualization of something for the accomplishment of a purpose. Using this
> meaning, all Christians believe the universe to have been 'designed.' Once
> again, Bert, I think we're on the same page.
> However, in earlier discussions (as in the 18th century, by persons like Wm.
> Paley) "design" was a two-fold act of both 1) thoughtful conceptualization for
> the accomplishment of a purpose, an act of a mind, and 2) the crafting from
> raw materials (or assembly from available parts) of that which was first
> conceptualized, an act of the hands. This meaning of 'design' was based on the
> artisan metaphor: one person, the artisan, or craftsman, performed *both* the
> conceptualization *and* the assembly, or crafting.
> My question is, which meaning is intended by the modern proponents of ID? Once
> that is established, we can evaluate their position. Until then, there is no
> basis for discussion.
> Respectfully,
> Howard Van Till

You are adding to evidence for design evidence for creator. The next step is to
infer the nature of the creator from the design. The further down this ladder we
go the fuzzer the picture becomes. This is powerful stuff.

"fine tuning" + "irreducible complexity" + "overwhelming anti-chance" leads to

"The universe must have known we were coming."

The universe does not have a mind, especialy in the view of materialist, therefore
to have a conscienceness, there must have been an entity.

Or as many would prefer to put it, "Clearly it was designed." and by implication a
designer and by implication the design was not a blueprint only but an
actualization of the physical (and as we see it spiritual reality) reality and
therefore the power and intelligence to fabricate the structure, initial
conditions, operational laws, etc.

The direct inference is then to capability. Where many have stumbled is to accept
the final conclusion that while an entity external to the universe may have done
all that, the nature of human suffering is so bad that He could not be very
personal or gracecious.

In my view, the design movement might be better reprased as the designer movement.

Comments? Bert