Friday, April 14, 2006

Sobering up Intelligent Design

I'll put a link into this great Pandas Thumb post analysing an essay written by Elliott Sober*, Intelligent Design theory and the supernatural - the "God or Extra-Terrestrials" reply, which takes on the ID argument and establishes how ID inherently can't escape from a supernatural designer.
Abstract: When proponents of Intelligent Design (ID) theory deny that their theory is religious, the minimalistic theory they have in mind (the mini-ID theory) is the claim that the irreducibly complex adaptations found in nature were made by one or more intelligent designers. The denial that this theory is religious rests on the fact that it does not specify the identity of the designer — a supernatural God or a team of extra-terrestrials could have done the work. The present paper attempts to show that this reply underestimates the commitments of the mini-ID Theory. The mini-ID theory, when supplemented with four independently plausible further assumptions, entails the existence of a supernatural intelligent designer. It is further argued that scientific theories, such as the Darwinian theory of evolution, are neutral on the question of whether supernatural designers exist.
I certainly think that Sobers essay is interesting and he makes some new points that I hadn't considered much before. Personally however, I've never thought that the way "ID" is set up now would ever include aliens period. Natural aliens would have methods that we could potentially establish and look for in making life as we knew it. The fact ID research don't try to establish anything about the potential methodology the designer(s) 'used', indicates heavily that their 'designer' is supernatural and as a result doesn't have a detectable methodology.

*You see what I did there? I took the guys name and made a witty pun with it in the title of the post. I'm so awesome!