I’ve been following Chris’ advice, and reading the judgement in the Kitzmiller v Dover Area School District case. It’s fantastic, and far funnier than it has a right to be. There’s something I need a hand with, though. Here’s the background, from the John Jones’ judgement:
Indeed, the assertion that design of biological systems can be inferred from the “purposeful arrangement of parts” is based upon an analogy to human design. Because we are able to recognize design of artifacts and objects, according to Professor Behe, that same reasoning can be employed to determine biological design. (18:116-17, 23:50 (Behe)). Professor Behe testified that the strength of the analogy depends upon the degree of similarity entailed in the two propositions; however, if this is the test, [intelligent design] ID completely fails.
Unlike biological systems, human artifacts do not live and reproduce over time. They are non-replicable, they do not undergo genetic recombination, and they are not driven by natural selection. (1:131-33 (Miller); 23:57-59 (Behe)). For human artifacts, we know the designer’s identity, human, and the mechanism of design, as we have experience based upon empirical evidence that humans can make such things, as well as many other attributes including the designer’s abilities, needs, and desires. (D-251 at 176; 1:131-33 (Miller); 23:63 (Behe); 5:55- 58 (Pennock)). With ID, proponents assert that they refuse to propose hypotheses on the designer’s identity, do not propose a mechanism, and the designer, he/she/it/they, has never been seen. In that vein, defense expert Professor Minnich agreed that in the case of human artifacts and objects, we know the identity and capacities of the human designer, but we do not know any of those attributes for the designer of biological life. (38:44-47 (Minnich)). In addition, Professor Behe agreed that for the design of human artifacts, we know the designer and its attributes and we have a baseline for human design that does not exist for design of biological systems. (23:61-73 (Behe)). Professor Behe’s only response to these seemingly insurmountable points of disanalogy was that the inference still works in science fiction movies. (23:73 (Behe)).
What science fiction has Behe been watching? When hapless, and usually soon-to-be-devoured spacefarers find something complicated, their line of argument doesn’t proceed
1. There is something complex here
2. Humans didn’t build it.
3. Therefore God did.
Invariably it’s more along the lines of
1. This is far too complex for us to have built it, though we can sort of see quite how well designed it is
2. We don’t have this level of technology. Yet.
3. Captain, there’s something else down here.
In other words, even the science fiction films depend on some sort of baseline for design skill. And hypotheses about the desires and motivations about designers are revealed, bloodily, in the ninety minutes subsequent to discovery of complicated and alien things.
Or is there a SciFi movie that I’m forgetting?