Evidence for design!

Occasionally, mention is made by participants on PS of the notion that strings of seemingly improbable events are evidence for design in nature. Along these lines, I submit the following list. In the spirit of this most wonderful time of year (COVID-19 be darned), enjoy!

Oral Roberts University
University of North Texas
Abilene Christian University
Ohio University (NOT The Ohio State University)

For good measure, the rest of the double digit seeds that advanced:

University of Maryland
Oregon State University

In case anyone reads this and cares, I believe this year ends with the exorcism of the ghost of Jim Valvano. (Putting myself out on a limb, and undoubtedly jinxing at least one team. More evidence for the supernatural, I suppose.)


I lost the thread here. What’s your point exactly? Did I miss some context?

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I must be out of the loop. What is it with these universities?

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There’s a reason they call it “March Madness”.

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Art is referring to some of the college basketball teams that have “beaten the odds” and defeated a heavily-favored opponent. Honestly, the odds are so low, that I refuse to believe any such thing could have happened without divine intervention. I call this “Intelligent Bracketing”.

PS - Art did not mention that Kentucky did not make it to the NCAA Championship Tournament this year!


There are 63 games in total, and there are 2 possible outcomes for each one. Therefore, the probability of this year’s bracket coming out exactly as we see it is 1 in 2^63, or 1 in 9,223,372,036,854,775,808. Obviously, to get the outcome we see it would require intelligent design because randomness couldn’t produce something that unlikely.


When “design” regarding nature is discussed, I am reminded of this study entitled “The Human Function Compunction: Teleological explanation in adults”


From the introduction

As debates about teaching Intelligent Design in American Schools illustrate, there exists substantial popular resistance to scientific ideas. While many factors contribute to such resistance, part of the explanation may be
found in various conceptual biases (e.g., Bloom & Skolnick Weisberg, 2007; Evans, 2000; Gelman, 2003; Kelemen, 1999a; Rosset, 2008; Shtulman, 2006). Among these is an early emerging ‘‘promiscuous” teleological tendency to explain all kinds of natural phenomena by reference to a purpose. For example, from preschool, children attribute functions to entities like lions, mountains, and icebergs, viewing them as ‘‘made for something” (Kelemen, 1999a). When asked about properties of natural entities like pointy rocks, children prefer teleological explanations over physical–causal ones, endorsing that rocks are pointy ‘‘so that animals won’t sit on them”, not because ‘‘bits of stuff piled up over time” (Kelemen, 1999b; but Keil, 1995). Among school-aged children, such teleological intuitions explicitly link to beliefs about intentional causality in nature (Kelemen & DiYanni, 2005) with children’s ideas not straightforwardly explained by parental explanations (Kelemen, Callanan, Casler, & PĂ©rez-Granados, 2005) or ambient cultural religiosity (Kelemen, 2003).

Adults, of course, do not show much overt sign of sharing children’s beliefs about the intrinsic functionality of icebergs or a rock’s sharp edges. Presumably then, children readily outgrow such fanciful purpose-based ideas, especially as their familiarity with ultimate causal explanations increases. Indeed, research with college-educated adults seems to support this trajectory. When tested on child appropriate tasks, they eschew children’s broad teleological endorsements, restricting functional ascriptions to body parts and artifacts (Kelemen, 1999a; Kelemen, 1999b; Kelemen, 2003).

Despite this, however, recent findings hint that ‘‘promiscuous teleology” may not be a passing stage of immaturity. For instance, research using child-assessment materials that compared Alzheimer’s patients to healthy controls found that teleological intuitions reassert themselves when the coherence of causal knowledge is eroded by disease (Lombrozo, Kelemen, & Zaitchik, 2007). This raises the possibility that rather than being part of a childhood stage, teleological explanation remains an explanatory default throughout development. That is, while the acquisition of scientifically warranted causal explanations might suppress teleological ideas, it does not replace them. This ‘‘co-existence” position makes a prediction: Even
healthy, schooled adults should display scientifically unwarranted promiscuous teleological intuitions when their capacity to inhibit more primary purpose-based intuitions is impaired by processing demands. To test this, we asked undergraduates to judge the correctness of warranted and unwarranted explanations of various natural phenomena under speeded conditions.


Loyola. Oral Roberts. Baylor. Gonzaga. Might not such a large contingent of Christian schools be yet more evidence of this “Intelligent Bracketing”?

 I wonder if Scott Drew consults with Robert Marks when scheming the BU game plan. Maybe another inroad of ID here?

That’s cold.

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Not just Christian, Jesuit.

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You may be into something here!

Sorry, I couldn’t help it.

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