Get your story straight, will you?


Here are a few of the things that would or do support intelligent design, according to various authors on Evolution News & Views:

If evolving multicellularity is complicated. — Cornelius Hunter, Anne Gauger

If evolving multicellularity is simple. — Unsigned Evolution News & Views article

If the human and chimpanzee genomes are very different. — Denyse O’Leary, Casey Luskin, David Klinghoffer, Anne Gauger

If the human and chimpanzee genomes are very similar. — Cornelius Hunter

If life is uncommon in the universe. — David Klinghoffer

If life is common in the universe. — David Klinghoffer

So intelligent design is in the enviable position of being supported equally well by mutually exclusive predictions. Heads I win, tails you lose! Now we can add Kirk Dunston to that last entry (“Could Atheism Survive the Discovery of Extraterrestrial Life?“):

Recently, NASA granted a million dollars to the Center of Theological Inquiry to study the theological, humanitarian, and social implications in the event that extraterrestrial life is ever discovered. It was another reminder of related discussions, over the years, of whether religion could survive the discovery of life on other planets.

I think, though, that the concern is misdirected. The real question is whether atheism could survive.

That’s what keeps me up nights: if we find ET, I’ll have to start believing in God!

There are at least two points to consider here. First, God is the Artist of Hidden Beauty. Second, getting mind-staggeringly lucky twice would strongly suggest that “something is going on here.”

“God is the Artist of Hidden Beauty”? What happened to “Intelligent design is not a religious movement”? He goes on at some length about the nature of his God:

Amazing plant and animal life on other planets would be exactly what I would expect to see from the One who creates beauty simply for the sake of beauty, even if no human will ever enjoy it…Suffice it to say that, from my own Christian perspective, plant and animal life on other planets would not be in the least surprising, God being the Artist that He is.

What happened to “Intelligent design doesn’t identify the designer“? To their credit, cdesign proponentsists are generally open about their religious beliefs, claiming only that those beliefs are not part of the arguments for intelligent design. However, Dunston’s argument clearly doesn’t fit that narrative. He’s not just expressing his personal religious beliefs, separate from his scientific understanding. He’s using the nature of God, the Christian God, as part of his argument for intelligent design (emphasis added):

The probability of life spontaneously self-assembling anywhere in this universe is mind-staggeringly unlikely; essentially zero. If you are so unquestioningly naïve as to believe we just got incredibly lucky, then bless your soul.

If we were to discover extraterrestrial life, however, then we would have had to get mind-staggeringly lucky two times! Like the forensic detectives at the lotteries commission, a thinking person would have to start operating on the well-founded suspicion that “something is going on.”

On the other hand, the existence of life and beauty elsewhere in the universe is not at all surprising under the hypothesis of a Creator who is the Artist of Hidden Beauty. Indeed, logic dictates the existence of a supernatural creator, as I have shown here, and our observations of the universe indicate it was specifically designed to support life.

Casey Luskin argues that representing intelligent design as a theory about the supernatural is a straw man invented by critics of intelligent design. Apparently Kirk Dunston hasn’t gotten that message.

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