Ugh. Yesterday I registered as a commenter on Uncommon Descent and spent most of the day debating a band of ID cranks pretty much single-handedly.
I've done wiser things.
I initially registered to comment on Granville Sewell's absolutely stupid argument from the second law of thermodynamics, but ultimately decided that I couldn't say anything reasonable and productive about that. So instead, I commented on BarryA's post about Indian arrowheads. In his post, BarryA tells a little satire about how the arrowheads in his grandfather's collection must have been produced by natural causes, despite their obvious appearance of design, because no one can tell him who designed them. Hopefully you can see the problem with his little analogy.Let me say that arguing with ID cranks on their own terms, especially en masse, is difficult, physically draining, and ill-advised. I tried to make a case for needing to investigate the designer even if something looks designed, without addressing other issues (like the fact that life doesn't look designed and that cells aren't completely analogous to machines). I think I very well may have failed.
Bad logic has strength in numbers. I tried to tease one aspect of their argument out into the light where I might tackle it individually, but they wouldn't have it. And in so limiting myself I probably made some bad (or at least incomplete) arguments myself. You can't blame a guy for trying.
Ultimately, though, I'm proud of myself for having been able to end on a strong note:
This discussion is beginning to get too broad, and so for now I will respectfully bow out. I only want to bring attention to my initial comment: BarryA wanted to say that you could tell something was designed without knowing who designed it or how it was designed/manufactured. However, to do so, he made an analogy to something for which we DO know about the designer.
As of yet, no one has given me an example of something (other than life, as ID claims) that is generally accepted to have been designed, but for which we have absolutely no idea who designed it or how. We’ve seen a lot of hypotheticals (computers on Mars, messages from extraterrestrials), but I point out that each of those examples of suspected design would be accompanied by an investigation into the nature of the designer. Why, then, does such an investigation not accompany ID?
As of this morning, there have already been a number of responses but no satisfactory answers. One poster, "nullasalus," says that knowing the designer is "simply outside the scope of things" without justifying why that should be the case. "Jerry" dismisses my question as a "tired cliché." "Atom" responds with such things as Viking artifacts in North America, which of course doesn't answer my question because we do have a clue as to who designed those artifacts (surprise! we think it may have been Vikings!).
I meant it when I said I was bowing out of that discussion... one can only butt heads with the UncommonlyDense for so long before you get a headache (or suffer brain truama). I know I probably didn't sway anyone against whom I was arguing, but I have some small hope that I may have planted some questions in the mind of a passing visitor.
I'll certainly think twice before commenting at UD in the future. There's just too much that's wrong about ID to overcome in a handful of blog comments.