Why are We Disagreeing with ID?

No it’s not. Name evidence, real or speculative, which could falsify Design.

ETA: Suppose that I claim to be the Designer. Unlikely, but there is nothing in the ID that disqualifies me in any testable way. Hey, I could change my title …

Three nonsense sentences.

I am stating fact. What evidence could possibly falsify design? Recall that evidence FOR nature is not evidence for design.

Do go on?


I think what we have here is two different definitions of design. Unless this is agreed upon we will argue in circles.

Can design be defined in such a way that it is falsifiable? Do you think Behe has thought about this?

So define it, and state how design might be falsified.
Rubber, meet road!

Yes. Theobald (2005?), White? and Penny (2009?)
I can look those up later, but they aren’t hard to find.

This gets back to irreducible complexity, are there selectable paths to a cilium, a flagellum, etc.?

It is not my job to demonstrate your claim. If you are claiming that ID/IC are useful, then you need to demonstrate the applicability of the argument to some actual example. That’s the way this works.


Design which is a known product of a mind can be inferred from observing a purposeful arrangement of parts. (Behe). The more closely matched parts the stronger the design inference.

Design is falsified by an inference being explained by matter alone for example. Gravity theory is an example of this falsification.

This assumes that what Behe considers a “selectable path” is how such things arise.

It isn’t.

He’s wrong.

You should know this by now,


Problem: If Design is already the KNOWN product of a mind, then no test is needed, WE ALREADY KNOW. Your wording allows a circular definition. I think the second sentence is OK.

Though we have not yet fully agreed on the definition, I think this has flaws too. The Designer must be capable of manipulating matter in some way (by definition). “Explained by matter alone” can also be design, so design is not falsified.

Gravity is not a good example of matter. How about a pocket watch?


No, you have no idea how science works. To falsify or test a hypothesis (not really a good model; it should be a statistical question, but never mind) you need to imagine some data you should not observe if the hypothesis is true and then find out if you observe those data. Since any data whatsoever are compatible with design, there are no data possible that would falsify design, either of gravity or of life.

Word salad again. You have no idea what you’re saying.


The hypothesis is that an irreducibly complex system can not evolve through pathways that involve neutral mutations. How do we falsify that hypothesis?


Now that I get to thinking about it, that needs a better definition too. For example, LEGOS ™ are closely matched parts. Is it the parts themselves or the arrangement of those parts which indicate design? Is there ANY arrangement of parts which would contradict design? (I don’t think so).


By changing a known to the known you have created a different argument.

Again you are invoking a straw man. The argument does not involve the Designer. Evidence for design…hard stop.

Gravity is a testable property of matter. So is electro magnetism. A watch is a conglomeration of matter arranged for a purpose.

You are making your own definition of design unfalsifiable. The data that shows matter behaving in a repeatable fashion according to Newton/Einsteins models falsifies design (mind) as a direct cause. The properties of matter can explain the observation.

An arrangement of parts that are not well matched and have no defined function have a weak at best and perhaps no design signal. Rocks on a beach are an example.

Is that Behe’s hypothesis? This is a genuine question, I don’t know that he has ever worded it in quite that manner.

To my understanding (and according to how @lee_merrill keeps presenting it) Behe argues that a system of a given level of complexity cannot arise without a number of selectable steps, and sometimes (e.g. for a “CCC”) a “selectable step” would require that two or more mutations occur at the same time. He then argues that the number of “selectable steps” required exceeds the number that could be expected to arise thru unguided natural processes.

Behe does not seem to seriously consider the possibility of them arising thru a series of neutral mutations, in part because this would not be “Darwinian”, which is correct as far as it goes but remains a serious oversight.

Beyond that, I don’t know how much more he explicitly explains that would justify the conclusion that there exist features in biology that could only have been “designed.” The above simulacrum of an argument is evidently enough to convince his devoted fans of this, and at that point he seems to consider his work to be done.

But maybe I am wrong and there is more to his argument. I have been involved in a protracted discussion with @lee_merrill, in part, to determine if that is the case. But instead, I keep finding there is less to Behe’s argument than meets the eye, rather than more.


OK, but it’s still your definition. Fix it so that it is not ambiguous. It’s OK to define terms separately from the definition, if necessary.

No straw man - I invoked the proposed evidence, and noted that it does not falsify design. Again, how would you falsify design? (on second thought, hold on this until you have a definition.)

Aside: If the Designer cannot manipulate matter in some way, then ID is entirely pointless. What use is a Designer that cannot design?

MASS is a testable property of matter. Gravity is a FORCE. Definition matter.
To my knowledge no one has ever suggested gravity as evidence for ID. Gravity has no parts to match or arrange, no design signal at all *your definition). I suggest there are better examples, just pick one.


I guess it depends on whether Behe thinks a known and demonstrable natural pathway for evolving an IC system would falsify his design hypothesis, even if that process is non-Darwinian. It’s a bit like ignoring Relativity because it is non-Newtonian.


In a conversation with @dsterncardinale he explains that basically any natural process is a Darwinian process in his view, including neutral mutations.


Just repeating what you claimed before isn’t a response or an argument. In order to test Newton vs. Einstein there must be some difference in expected data between Newton and Einstein, for example the details of Mercury’s orbit. In order to test design vs. Newtonian gravity there must be a difference in expected data between design and Newtonian gravity. What is that difference? What is your definition of design, and how does it predict characteristics of the data that differ from the predictions of other models?

The absence of a design signal isn’t evidence against design unless you’re willing to say that design must produce a design signal. The presence of a design signal (leaving aside what that actually means and how you would detect it) doesn’t show design unless you’re willing to say that only design can produce a design signal. And by “you” here I don’t mean you specifically, I mean a reasonable person.


How is this statement ambiguous?

Design which is a known product of a mind can be inferred from observing a purposeful arrangement of parts. (Behe). The more closely matched parts the stronger the design inference.

You simply changed the argument to make in unfalsifiable. The designers activity is not evidence available to us. Only the results of His activity.

Again beyond the scope of the argument. You are continuing to beg to invoke a straw man argument. Have you thought about your need to do this?

I also not making this claim. Gravity theory is a way to falsify ID for that application. This discussion is not about inferring ID it is about falsifying it. ID is about a purposeful arrangement of parts which is a separate discussion then testing the properties of matter. ID is not required to create a testable model of gravity.

My hypothesis is that Behe’s intention is to lead people to reject evolution while minimizing the number of outright lies he has to tell.

So he can truthfully say “There is not plausible Darwinian pathway to an irreducibly complex system”. And if his readers incorrectly interpret this as “There is no plausible evolutionary pathway,” that’s not his fault. He didn’t say that.

While he seeks to minimize the number of outright lies he has to tell, he may not be able to completely avoid them. If he concedes the existence of non-Darwinian mechanisms, the jig is up.