Intelligent Design needs a Re-Branding

In this age of consumerism, everyone understands the importance of positive branding, and indeed, companies and individuals alike readily comprehend that if your “brand” has negative connotations attached to it, then there are a great many people that will pre-judge you on that basis alone rather than taking the time to survey your ideas in the detail that they deserve, and though this may not be fair, it is reality, and so in light of this fact, I contend that given the branding difficulties that now surround it, it is now time for the Intelligent Design (ID) movement to re-brand itself with a new and improved label, which I claim should be the label of “Agent Detection Science”, and the reasons for this proposition are as follows:

1. First, in making this change, there is the obvious benefit that some small part of the negative branding and prejudice associated with ID would be removed, and thus ID may gain some extra proponents from making such a minor change;

2. Second, at least to me, the label “Agent Detection Science” sounds more professional, academic, and intellectually rigorous than Intelligent Design, just as the term “Forensic Science” sounds more professional, academic, and intellectually rigorous rather “Scenes of Crime Investigation”, and so, such a labeling change will have a positive persuasive effect at an almost sub-conscious level, which, in turn, should give ID at least a change at more of a fair hearing by a greater number of people;

3. Third, by labeling itself as “Agent Detection Science”, the ID movement actually links itself much more closely to other ID-type fields like forensics, archaeology, and SETI (Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence) given that all these other fields are in the business of detecting the hall-marks of agent causation rather than natural causation, and furthermore, since all these fields are, quite literally, agent detection sciences, then by directly labeling itself as “Agent Detection Science”, the ID movement would gain greater credibility not only through its clear connection to these other already-credible fields, but it would also make it the case that any objections brought against the methodology of Agent Detection Science / ID would also have to be objections against such disciplines as forensics, archaeology, SETI, and so on;

4. Fourth, the label “Agent Detection Science” is more precise than the ID moniker, for ID, as well as all the other ID-type sciences already mentioned (like archaeology) are in the very business of using certain methodologies to detect the presence and activity of agents rather than of natural causes, and so, by changing the name from ID to something like “Agent Detection Science”, the ID movement would, in its very title, be clearly stating what it actually strives to do, and since what ID strives to do is in no way shocking when you consider that SETI, archaeology, forensics, and other fields strive to do the exact same thing, then in providing this clarity in its very label the ID movement would be clear that it is little different than these other sciences are;

5. Fifth, “Agent Detection Science” has the term ‘science’ in its very name, which helps to immediately and directly assert that ID is a science, just like forensics and archaeology are considered to be, and so its status as a claimed science is put right into the open for all to see (and please note that if you truly deny that ID is a science, then it would be easy enough to change the name to “Agent Detection Methodology” or “Agent Detection Theory” or even “Agent Detection Analysis”);

…and so these, therefore, are a number of reasons why I believe that the ID movement should consider the idea of re-branding itself as I think that doing so would help to take ID to the next level of its development while simultaneously dropping some of the negative baggage that is, at the present time, directly attached to the ID label.

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The Multiverse and Creationism

I have, in the past, written about the multiverse–the idea, usually offered in answer to the fine-tuning of this universe, that there exist trillions upon trillions of different universes, if not, in fact, an infinite amount of such different universes, all with different physical laws and constants–and I have also written about how certain atheists often appeal to the multiverse as a “get anything you want or need naturalistically” card, and though I have also shown that atheistic appeals to the multiverse might not be as beneficial as atheists believe them to be, I will, in this thought, also note that another funny point about atheistic appeals to the multiverse is that although atheists often rail against creationism and chant that accepting creationism is utterly irrational and “anti-science”, it actually is the case that if the multiverse does exist, then, the fact is, it is highly likely that many “creationist-style” universes exist given that, in a multiverse, such created universes could easily be made by some kind of hyper-advanced being–in fact, if an infinite number of universes exist, then there are arguably a massive plethora, or even an infinite number of such creationist-styles universes that exist; and what this means is that if the atheist wishes to push the multiverse card as a means to account for the fine-tuning of this universe, then, by extension, such an atheist should arguably become silent about creationist-style ideas, for the fact is that in a multiverse, there is no way of knowing whether or not we are presently in a creationist-style universe–essentially, a universe which was intelligently designed and which appears old (based on our current science) but which is, in reality, actually only a few thousand years old–and so, in appealing to the multiverse, atheists give serious legitimacy and weight to creationism in general, for indeed, though such an idea might not necessarily support orthodox Christian creationism per se, atheistic endorsements of the multiverse without doubt make general creationism (and even a creationism very closely resembling Christian Creationism) eminently rational to believe in, which is a particularly humorous result given the general antipathy that most atheists feel towards creationism of any form…and perhaps the funniest issue is that in seeking to avoid the fine-tuning problem by appealing to the multiverse, atheists actually completely support the idea of the intelligently designed fine-tuning of this universe, for a creationism universe is an intelligently designed one, and thus atheistic attempts to defeat the problem of fine-tuning actually make fine-tuning that much easier to believe in.

Does the Reasoning of Atheists Undermine Evolution?

One of the most used atheistic catch-phrases in modern times is that “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence”, and while there is much wrong with this phrase there is also much much right with it when properly understood, and yet what is most often overlooked with this idea is that when it is turned on beliefs associated with and linked to the atheistic-naturalistic worldview, the fact is that its effect is utterly devastating to that worldview, for consider, for example, not only that the grand blind-watchmaker interpretation of evolution is something totally alien to our experience, and thus an extraordinary claim, and therefore needing extraordinary evidence, but things are actually astronomically worse than is for the evolutionary narrative, for it is actually the case that one could consider each major claim in the naturalistic evolutionary story as an individual extraordinary claim, and so each of the vast multitude of such claims requires extraordinary evidence, and it is actually needless to say that the grand naturalistic evolutionary story by no means has extraordinary evidence for many (if not most) of its claims (in fact, it does not even have any ordinary evidence for many of its claims…just think of abiogenesis, the Cambrian Explosion, sexual reproduction, consciousness, rationality, etc., etc., etc.); so, in an interesting twist of irony and reasoning, it is actually the very skeptical slogans championed by atheistic-naturalists which give us the grounds and justification to reject ideas integral to the atheistic-naturalist worldview, such as the grand blind watchmaker evolutionary narrative…and so, the next time an unbeliever balks at your rejection of the blind watchmaker version of evolution, and questions your rationality because of it, just reply that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, and since no such extraordinary evidence has been provided (“just-so” stories and “we just need more time” pleas do not count) then one is entirely rational to reject the claim until such a time as the extraordinary evidence required to believe all the various myriad extraordinary claims is provided.

Thought on How Denying the Kalam Could Equal the Rational Denial of Evolution

When debating with certain atheists, one of the most fascinating things to notice is that, on the one hand, they tell you that the blind-watchmaker version of evolution is an absolutely undeniable fact that only a fool could reject (and note that such a claim is absurd on its face) while on the other hand telling you–usually in response to the Kalam Cosmological Argument–that things, like a universe, can indeed pop into existence uncaused from nothing, but what is the fascinating thing about these two atheistic claims is the fact that the latter assertion readily undermines the former one, for if it is possible that such a thing as a universe could pop into existence uncaused from nothing, it is equally possible that animals, and fossils, and such other things could pop into existence uncaused out of nothing just as we see them today, in the order that we see them in today, and so, in light of this possibility, while the atheist might still argue that evolution is a potentially better explanation for the development of life given the evidence that we do see rather than the explanation that these things just popped into existence, the fact is that by opening the door to the possibility that things can come into existence uncaused from nothing, the atheist has also opened the door–at least on his worldview–to the possibility that all life came about that way as well, and so the atheist would be hard pressed to claim with firmness that evolution is an absolute undeniable fact in light of what he himself just admitted; now again, the point here is not that the atheist cannot try to make a case for both these ideas which he wishes to endorse (although something coming uncaused from nothing is utterly absurd), but rather that there is a serious tension in the atheist’s worldview, and thus his worldview begins to look ad hoc and incoherently cobbled together when viewed in totality, and the atheist himself begins to look a bit disingenuous when he picks one aspect of his worldview (popping into existence uncaused from nothing) to answer one problem (the Kalam), then uses another aspect of his worldview (blind watchmaker evolution) to answer another problem (the obviousness of design in nature), but rarely if ever admits that when he combines his own two atheistic answers together, it is the atheistic worldview itself that has the problem…namely, the problem of being arguably incoherent given its almost mutually exclusive claims (and note that any atheist attempt to claim that only universes can come into existence uncaused from nothing is a fallacious and ad hoc attempt to arbitrarily stop the causal principle right where it suits atheism, and since such a selective stopping is rather ad hoc, it can be safely ignored as special pleading).

Thought on the Strange Self-Negating Quality of Modern Atheism

One of the most fascinating things about modern atheism, at least when taken in its more robust format of atheistic-naturalism, is how much different elements that that worldview routinely appeals to in order to intellectually shore itself up often negate and contradict themselves, and a case in point is the combination of the multiverse and blind-watcher evolution, for the former is something atheists routinely appeal to in order to deny the intuitive inference to cosmological design based on the fine-tuning of the universe while the latter is appealed to in order to deny the intuitive inference to biological design based on what we see in nature, and yet note that if an atheistic multiverse exists, then not only is it the case that there exist countless universes that look like ours and yet in which evolution may look like it happened, but it never did, and organisms simply popped into existence as they were, etc. (not to mention countless worlds like ours but where organisms were intelligently designed), but, on the other hand, it is also the case that if the atheistic multiverse is denied, then the odds of blind-watchmaker evolution actually accounting for everything we see in the natural world are so slim, and the evidence for this claim so paltry, that it is eminently rational to disbelieve in such an evolutionary process; and so the atheistic-naturalist is stuck between a very ironic rock and a humorous hard-place, for if he denies the atheistic multiverse, he has just made naturalistic evolution eminently rationally to deny (all his loud protestations to the contrary notwithstanding) while also allowing for the cosmological design inference to have serious anti-naturalistic force, and yet if the atheistic-naturalist accepts the multiverse, then he has not only also just made naturalistic evolution eminently rationally to deny as well, but he has also made it quite rational to believe that this world was intelligently designed, and so either way, the atheistic-naturalist’s position has a major breach in it, and it is such a large breach that it raises the question of whether atheistic-naturalism is even a rational position to begin with.

Thought on How the Two Engines of Atheism Undermine Themselves

It must be said that a point which is routinely overlooked in the debate on atheism is how the (alleged) two great engines driving modern atheism–namely, evolution and the existence of evil–actually undermine themselves, for when you consider the matter closely, and when you observe the nature of man in its totality when compared to other animals, then you find that man is both such a depraved beast and a vile thing capable of horrid evils and a being capable of goodness that at times reaches an angelic realm and which goes astronomically beyond anything that a mere animal would do, that you thus begin to realize that the evolutionary account of the origin of man is simply too poor and inadequate from a moral perspective to fully explain man’s beyond-animalistic evil and his beyond-bestial goodness; and so, the moment that atheists begin to lament man’s great capacity to cause evil as a reason to disbelieve in the existence of God, they thereby give us a reason to see their evolutionary account of the origin of man as insufficient to account for this evil and thus they give us a reason to believe in a moral creator and designer, thereby undermining their atheism, and, conversely, if they point to evolution as a reason to disbelieve in God, we can simply point out that that idea is lacking in enough explanatory power to explain the full range of human depravity and goodness, and thus it cannot explain man in full, which, in turn, means that there is something beyond evolution that has affected the hearts of men, and this too is a factor that undermines the strict naturalistic account of man.

Thought of the Reasonableness of Doubting Evolution

Despite the vociferous and cantankerous protestations and lamentations to the contrary–always a sign, by the way, that an argument is weak given its need to be supplemented by loud, emotive, and propagandistic voices–the fact of the matter is that it is eminently reasonable to doubt in the molecules-to-man, blind-watchmaker evolutionary narrative, for when that narrative is subject to critical and impartial and skeptical scrutiny, there manifestly appear so many gaping holes in it (abiogenesis, the evolution of consciousness, language, etc.), and so many claims build on shaky ‘just-so’ stories (claims about the development of the eye, the brain, etc.), and so many events with weak to non-existent explanations (the advent of sexual reproduction, ), and so many questionable and suspicious inferences (as are any inferences into the deep past), that if this theory were forced to make its case in a court of law, there would be a vast number of ways to create reasonable doubt about its veracity, and so it is simply ridiculous to claim that one could not reasonably doubt this naturalistic evolutionary narrative; now, this is not to say that this narrative is necessarily false, but simply to say that it is readily false to claim that this narrative cannot be doubted by a reasonable man, for it most obviously can be.