MB> For example, Bill Dembski does not seek out a vital force, he
MB>seeks out empirical detectors of a mind's ability to implement
>What I have read of Dembski does not indicate this.
It doesn't? I'm afraid you've lifted my quote out of
its context to raise another issue. I was not talking
about the validity of TDI. Here's the entire quote:
" The modern ID movement is heeding Kant's warning
and does think of teleology as a plan of organization
and not a vital life force. The software is just as
important as the hardware and the boundary conditions
are just as important as the differential equations.
These are valid insights and are being carried forward
by those in the ID movement. For example, Bill
Dembski does not seek out a vital force, he seeks
out empirical detectors of a mind's ability to
implement a plan."
I simply used Dembski as an 'example' of a
modern teleologist who focuses on the detection
of an implemented plan rather than the life
force of vitalism. Whether Dembski succeeds
was not the point.
Now, as for the separate issue of the validity of
TDI, Wesley writes:
>Dembski's TDI proposes that we can detect the "design"
>which an intelligent agent has left behind,
I agree, as long as we approach the topic in
a provisional fashion. I hope Wesley is not another
design critic who believes a design inference
should be a certain proof of design.
>but Dembski's Design Inference tells us precisely zip
>about the intelligent agent.
This is not relevant, as a design inference is an
inference about how things came to be and not
about the identity/essence of the intelligent agent.
Intelligent intervention can and does indeed shape
the world. It's detection is not dependent on any other
assumption other that the agent being intelligent and capable of
intervention (like humans). Dembski attempts to
look for fingerprints of such intervention - dynamics
that 'capture' and 'freeze' mind's intervention.
>IMO, DI does not even get us as far as knowing that an
>intelligent agent existed, much less acted.
This may be important for people who need to "know,"
but if you don't have a need for certainty, it is not.
>Dembski has recently been struggling with the issue of what
>evolutionary computation can do, and has introduced the
>concepts of "actual CSI" and the "appearance of CSI" into the
I simply view CSI as positive evidence of intelligent
design thus there is no need for me to respond to anything
else Wesley writes. I will mention, however, that we
should distinguish between abiogenesis/the origin
of life from non-life and evolution/the origin of
one life form from another. When this distinction is
made, all of Wesley's evolutionary computations become
irrelevant since the issue (for me) is how life itself, endowed
with CSI, arose ultimately from non-biotic processes. To
exclude intelligent design is to credit the dumb universe, which
shows little or no evidence of generating CSI, for the
most impressive and extensive example of CSI ever
known - life. If we proceed to evolution, and grant that
natural selection can generate CSI from previously
existing CSI, then the design inference simply becomes
more fuzzy, not inherently wrong.
>I mentioned proximate causation above, and that also is
>interesting in connection with Dembski. Even if we were to
>grant the claim that the Design Inference can identify
Sure it can.
>the Design Inference is incapable of
>distinguishing between CSI proximately caused by an
>intelligent agent and CSI that was ultimately caused by an
>intelligent agent removed one or more steps from the event
>Even if Dembski is right about what his
>Design Inference does, Dembski has done no more than provide
>another argument for Deism.
So? The design inference is not supposed to be an argument
for Christian montheism, Buddhist pantheism, or Greek
polytheism. It is simply about detecting the intervention
of an intelligent mind. If Dembski can get us only as far as
deism, then anyone who wants more will have to invoke
more than TDI.
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