I am Open to Design Arguments of a Sort

I believe there are empirical findings that could support divine design, though I do not think that it would necessarily be part of science. If we let go of the label “science”, I think it is up for debate. In this broader discussion, I have already been convinced of the evidence for divine design, but I don’t see how your argument from ORFan’s supports that case. I think the arguments for design are strong enough (by definition, outside science) that adding to them with an invalid argument does much to undermine the case for design.


@pnelson, can you clarify if you think there is a difference between creation and design? What is that distinction?

I have two diagnostic questions.

Is Mount Everest designed by God or not?

Is Mount Rushmore designed by God or not?

There were no human designers in the first case, but there is a human designer in the second case. These two examples, also, are discussed as a contrast between ‘designed’ and ‘not-designed’ by many ID authors (see Dembski). How would you answer. Are these two mountains designed by God or not? I believe God created all things, and in this sense He designed both mountains, using a human designer for the recognizable elements of Mount Rushmore.

It seems, however, that you would (alongside Dembski) deny God designed Mount Everest. Is that correct? In what sense, then, did God create Everest, if not design?

Im having a hard time understanding you here. ID is about determining if “science” can explain in a logical way how something can occur via the forces that science gages. When it is determined that science that gages natural forces is finding statistical unreasonablness for those forces explaining an event, then science either may no longer has a say in the matter from that point on or whose voice will be muffled for illumination towards a potentially more logical explanation of the great Cause that produced mass energy at the big bang(I call it the beginning) amongst others like the formation of an eye.
In my opinion, ID is very much scientific. I have no idea what forces other than an unkept allegiance to sciencism or naturalism why one would be so apprehensive to admit the two can co-exist and be used for the betterment of science and for the cultures in which we live.


I commend the ingenious nature of your diagnostic questions. But I think you can improve on the 2nd question. As you know, Mount Rushmore’s design involves humans. And things just seem to fly off the rail when we start trying to fit things in with humans.

What would happen to your diagnostic examination if you just had two questions, and the 2nd question was:

"Is the Largest Termine Nest on earth designed by God or not?"

Naturally, it is not important just where this termite next actually is… or that we can actually name it.

The the point of the question is to ask about something clearly made by non-human creatures … and perhaps far enough away from mammalian life forms that it is easier to render a confident answer of “YES”.

Thoughts, Joshua? Maybe not having the question about humans ruins what you are attempting to show … and if so, my apologies.

But maybe there is a use for a diagnostic with a different Question 2…

Well no kidding. That is my point. Dembski argues that Rushmore is designed, but Everest is not designed. I’m trying to sort that out, becuase I think God created both mountains, including the president’s statues. Of course, in the case of Rushmore, he created it through (in part) human designers.

I’m just not sure how to make sense of this. Though I like your question too:

I am not sure what they mean by design at all, if not creation. If they mean creation, do we not believe God created all things? Very confusing…


If you really want to confound an IDer ask them to name an object they know for a fact is NOT designed, and how they made the determination. :slightly_smiling_face:


I have a better question here. Was The Extra Face in Mount Rushmore designed or not? By whom?

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I know they say things like this to
Appear theologically neutral. But from a Christian standpoint couldn’t you say ID is trying to identify instances of special providence? So the Christian IDist could still say everest is designed it just came about through general providence. I think for the Theistic ID proponent design really means special providence.

Except they go to lengths to insist they are making no distinctions about the mechanism of design. They certainly are not appealing to theological concepts like “special providence.” If you say they are looking for evidence of God’s action, they will often protest loudly.

Honestly, I can’t make sense of it, the more I think about it. Historically, they definitely saw “design” as a synonym for “creation,” but God created everything. However, they continually say that somethings are designed and other things are not designed. I’m not sure how to untangle that knot.

Go back to early versions of the Wedge document. They made a global change from “created” to “designed”. Intelligent was added later. All of this was covered in court.

I think you mean Of Pandas And People, the Creationist textbook modified to “intelligent design” and central to Kitzmiller v. Dover.

Remember “cdesignproponentists”?


For what it’s worth, I asked similar questions on a Facebook forum and was told that conflating creation with design is a straw man caricature of Intelligent Design.

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So how did they answer then? They should be able to answer if Mount Everest is “designed” or not? I certainly think it is in that we know that God purposefully created it. Right?


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I didn’t get an explicit answer, but the implication seemed to be that Mount Everest is not designed, or at least not detectably so. And what prompted my questions was a blog post about ID that ended with an explicit contrast between a human-carved monument and the Grand Canyon as examples of designed and not-designed objects. (The author of that post was not the person who responded to my comments.)

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That is a MALARKEY ruling … from the High Council of Malarkey!

While there can be lots of debate on things humans are involved with … anything created by non-human creatures of Earth - - are designed by God (100%).

i think that since we have a natural explanation for the exietence of Everest (known geological process)- we dont need to conclude design (it doesnt mean that this mountain was not designed). this isnt true for mount Rushmore, since we have no natural explanation for that mountain.

I would untangle it in the exact same way as i would untangle how the presence of evil in this world. Evil exists. God allows it to exist. In God’s design, He created beings in His image with volition who are only capable of choice where loving relationship can exist which can result in wrong choice and evil. But God did not create the evil if they so choose wrongly.
In the very same way, God created non living things with mass energy. And God created living things. God created both non living and living things with specific differing design in which they must exist. And God can never be responsible for taking credit as designer and creator of their existence that runs contrary to to how they were designed and created.
The big questions become can science hypothesize whether the existence of certain things seem to be of intelligence outside of the realm of our natural existence? And can science hypothesize the essence of their design that the designer created them to exist within where it is impossible for them to exist in any other? I think to myself why not? I can think of no other rational option other than the existence of a great Cause of the beginning of mass energy at the start of our cosmos. I can think of no other rational option for the existence of living things than a great Cause. And in the spirit of these, there is perfect sense for forms of science to access wether the existence of certain forms in bio machines can better be explained as circumstances of selection of the random, or better explained by that same great Cause.
The only reason that there has been such a pushback against such science is because of the indoctrination of the naturalistic philosophy infused into science helped along by the likes of Darwin. We have been duped to believe that explaining the existence of something with tools out of any other handbag other than the naturalistic philosophical one is unscientific. That is one of the biggest farces perhaps in the history of man.

@swamidass I guess I don’t read enough different ID proponents to have encountered some of these ideas. My own views are pretty straightforward I think, but then I would. I am a Christian so mine views on intelligent design are influenced by my theology. I view all things as created and therefore as having been designed in some sense. How to map design onto creation is tricky. By one sense they are coextensive… But in the sense of being detectable, they are a special class or category of biological degree of design, how I don’t know. I will speculate: it seems to me that the complexity of cellular molecular biology is such that the first cells were designed and if common descent is true it was passed on and the rest would have followed. . Now what do we mean really when we talk about intelligent design. We mean generally the kind of designs that can be detected. The kind of design that is, distinctive, and we could say, obvious compared to the run-of-the-mill design, the background design, what most might attribute to just purely natural causes. So for example (this is tough because I personally see a lot of design in just about every cellular process) the molecular interactions that allow tubulin to pack into microtubules are due to biophysics and chemistry but then they also allow them to take into the next level. They can interact to produce the amazing structure of the cilium—that becomes more of a case of intelligent design to me. That seems obvious to me — but we don’t have the tools to demonstrate it.

Big caveat here , this is my personal view. I represent no one in this. I would say both mountains were created but it depends on whether you think God is involved in the weathering of rock as to whether you would say they were designed by God independent of human agency. He could be. I don’t know why he would be.

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