From: <>
Date: Sat Jun 16 2007 - 13:23:03 EDT


I'm still thinking about what you wrote.  I believe this is worth discussing because the IDists aren't listening to us, and I believe it is because of arguments like the one you posted (no offense intended, since I only recently started questioning this argument).  We and the IDists will continue to talk past one another and make no progress until our arguments are improved.

While I am still thinking about your main point, I will respond to only part of your message for now.  You said,

> Your example of a hidden verbal message in DNA is NOT what
> ID advocates are arguing will be found. That would essentially
> be an artifact -- analogous to human artifacts. In fact, it would
> be treating God as a human with superhuman powers. But God
> is not superman, or a highly advanced ET. In fact, it would not
> at all provide a demonstration of divine action. It would be much
> more like an episode in Star Trek. 
However, I was discussing YOUR argument against the ID analogy of messages from ET's in the SETI program.  Messages from distant stars also sounds like an episode in Star Trek, but that is what we were discussing.  If it is not what ID advocates are arguing will be found, then why are they using it as an example of detecting ID?  I mean, if there is something categorically different between ET messages and bacterial flagella, then we need to state clearly what that difference actually is and thus show them why their argument is wrong.  That is EXACTLY what you were attempting to do, and so now it is really unfair to try to shelve the discussion by saying it sounds too much like Star Trek.  That was rhetorical trickery (probably unintentional); wouldn't you agree?  :)

So getting back to the point of why the IDists' SETI argument fails (why ET messages are categorically different than bacterial flagella as examples of detecting ID):
You claimed that SETI messages would work only because we have some prior conception of what an ET's abilities and purposes might be through analogy to human beings.  You then said that we have no such knowledge of divine agents and hence we cannot use the SETI analogy for detecting divine action in bacterial flagella.  So you say that prior knowledge of abilities (and limitations) and purposes is **THE** categorical difference between SETI and a divine agent that causes the ID argument to be fallacious.  However, you have not put your finger on the relevant categorical difference.  The limitation or non-limitation of the causal agent, or our prior knowledge of their purposes or abilities, is not what makes the ID argument fail.  Messages from ET's or from God **can** be interpreted as examples of ID without any prior knowledge of their purposes or abilities, as I demonstrated with the "message in the DNA" example.

I still need further thought before I can reply to your main point.

best regards,

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Received on Sat Jun 16 13:23:43 2007

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