The Design Meta-Scientific Hypothesis

So you think the question of God’s existence is synonymous with ID?

Oh I misinterpreted you @mercer.

I’m arguing that ID should be a philosophical inference, not a scientific one. Methodological naturalism makes sense.


What criteria do you use to identify a “design-like pattern” when you know absolutely nothing about the Designer’s capabilities, limitations, or intentions?

The way humans identify if something was designed now is by using available external information. The suspected object is compared to known designed similar objects and if the match is sufficient (a subjective call) then design is concluded. That’s how Paley’s Watch can be known to be designed. That’s how Mt. Rushmore can be known to be designed. That’s how anthropologists tell early hominid stone tools from geofacts (natural stones which resemble hominid produced tools). It’s even how SETI works where the unknown signal is compared to known human designed modulation schemes.

With biology and genomes there is no known designed baseline to compare against. If you do find an interesting pattern how do you conclusively decide it wasn’t from a currently unknown natural process instead of defaulting to “Must be Designed!”?


It is amusing to see people coming here and falling prey to their anti-Darwin addictions.


I don’t think you get it! He would simply say that convergence makes more sense on theism than atheism. He’s not equating non-darwinian with “a designer must have intervened.” He’s using it the same way you are.

I would be interested in examples of how ID could influence the practice of science. (And I mean favorably; I already see how it could screw things up.)



You are arguing against this like it’s science! It’s not science, it’s philosophy! There is no “conclusively concludes” in philosophy or natural theology. Unless you’re Aquinas. But that’s not how it works these days. No analytical philosopher would use the word “certainty” for almost any proposition ever.

I take that back. Modus Ponens and Tolens, you could conclusively conclude that IF all the premises are true, the conclusion necessarily follows. But that’s not what we’re talking about here.

Don’t tell us, tell the ID people who every day claim ID is science and deserving of a seat at the science table without having earned one.


I think Collins is saying that, for example, snowflake patterns make more sense under design as a metascientific hypothesis than under a mindless universe. Same with patterns of proteins, etc. Completely natural occurrences, and then we can argue about what hypothesis best accounts for WHY they are the way they are.

Maybe that is correct, but two things:

  1. It is certainly not a scientific argument.

  2. It seems like an exceedingly weak argument.

If that is his case, it seems indistinguishable from the fine tuning argument. It seems better to focus there instead.

This seems to be incorrect. Convergence merely tells us that there is more than one way to solve a problem at one level, that looks the same at another level. It is hard to even imagine a biological world where this is not true. I’m not sure how it points to theism or atheism, but it certainly makes it easier for things to evolve.


Really? That’s the scientific explanation. What about an explanation dealing with final causes?

Why have a universe that evolves? Why HAVE evolvability at all? I guess this is why I like natural theology and you’re sort of indifferent or mildly in favor of it.

I would be fine with that. It is the claim that it is science, and attempt to argue that in curricula debates, that I find troubling.


Here is another truly absurd opposition:

repeated evolution in isolated populations is due to convergent selection


repeated evolution in isolated populations may be due to convergent selection and/or developmental bias

I know of precisely zero biologists who would argue that in all cases developmental bias is not relevant ot convergent evolution. That is just an absurd thing to insist upon. We, instead, look to understand in specific cases what is driving the pattern we see. In some cases, I’m sure, everyone will grant that in some cases developmental bias is important.

This is just NOT the distinction between EES and MS. The distinction is that EES feels the need to make a website targeted at the public to misrepresent the current state of MS and rebrand/repackage it as EES. This is not usually a good strategy.


Have you heard of the weak anthropic principle? This seems to be a defeater for the argument you are making.

That we’re here because otherwise how could we observe that we’re here? Of course we’re here. If that’s the WAP, I think it’s terrible reasoning.

1 Like


I think the fact evolution works makes sense if God exists and wanted to make an orderly world.

If one is an atheist, ecolutiomust work or everything is incoherent.

Part of the conflict here, it seems, is that we have different epistemological orderings. I agree that the world make sense in light of Jesus, but this does not exclude the fact that evolution also makes sense in light of atheism. The bigger discriminators are things like human rights, which appear to be a spandrel in atheism, but foundational in the sort of “theism” I find in Jesus.

1 Like

Collins promoted the DI, which claims to be doing science. All scientific conclusions are provisional, so I’m not seeing your point about logic.

That’s a superb diagnostic that might work well in public education.

1 Like

It’s interesting the EES website has the logos of many prominent universities displayed across the bottom of the page. Those are the schools where some of the EES people are associated with but to my knowledge the biology departments of those schools do not endorse EES. I’m reminded of the Creationist “Cornell” conference where the Cornell emblem was used to promote the event despite the fact the university had nothing to do with things besides renting some meeting space.


I think you may be misunderstanding the weak anthropic principle. The WAP is not taken to be a cause. Rather, it points to and explains a bias in what we see. We cannot say look to the probability of X, and say that it is too improbable. Instead, we have to look at the conditional probability of X, given that X was observed in a world that supports our kind of life. And that is likely to not be as improbable.