From: <>
Date: Fri Jun 08 2007 - 17:47:10 EDT

Well, I'm going to stir the pot...

While I think the IDM is not using a valid approach, I am not convinced by this type of argument.  Without any doubt some evidence for intelligent activity can be self-interpreting so that no a priori knowledge of the designer is required.  For example, as Pim indicated, if the ID people found a coded, verbal message hidden in the DNA, and this message identified the designer, his abilities, and his purposes, then that would be sufficient a posteriori knowledge to interpret design.  That's an extreme, but many other mild examples could be cited.  The problem isn't that the IDM can never in principle find such evidence,  but that they haven't.  It is a mistake to state it as a general principle that you must have a priori knowledge of the designer.  It sounds sexy when you state it as a general principle, but it's still not correct even though it sounds too sexy to not be correct.  The problem with the fingerprint analogy is that it fails because not everything in the world is a mere fingerprint.  Analogies can illustrate but they don't define.  IMO, the general principle that is actually the essence of the IDM mistake is that, because of the possibility of appealing to infinite universes and the WAP, you cannot **scientifically** prove design in anything that is not gratuitous to our existence; yet the origin of our existence is precisely where they are looking. 


-----Original Message-----
Sent: Fri, 8 Jun 2007 2:05 pm

In a message dated 6/5/2007 12:09:19 PM Pacific Daylight Time, writes:

The point can perhaps be made in an even simpler way in response to Johnson's claim about the creatow who supposedly "left his fingerprints all over the evidence."

A fingerprint left at the scene of a crime of course identifies the criminal only if you have an independent sample of someone's fingerprint with which it can be matched.  The ID argument assumes that we have some a priori knowledge of the "fingerprint" of the Designer.



I like George's comments.  To expand a bit:


Many believing scientists (e.g. Owen Gingerich in God's Universe) start with the a priori conviction that God is the Creator/Designer, and do science to discover what His "fingerprints" look like.  They don't claim to know what they look like a priori; they go where the data leads. 


Much of ID switches the order, starting with a priori assumptions of a designer's "fingerprints", and using this to try to explicitly show that there was a designer.  But how do we know a priori what his "fingerprints" look like?  We get some hints from Scripture and from previous scientific discovery, but we really don't know for sure until after the science is done, so the approach becomes somewhat circular.



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Received on Fri Jun 8 17:47:56 2007

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