In their own words, part 1


Evolution News & Views

Cdesign proponentsists often complain that critics attack straw man versions rather than their actual arguments. That must be really frustrating; as I’ve said before, if you have good arguments, you don’t need to misrepresent your opponents’. Here, for example is Casey Luskin on Evolution News & Views:

Many critics of intelligent design have promoted false, straw-man versions of ID, typically going something like this:

“Intelligent design claims that life is so complex, it could not have evolved, therefore it was designed by a supernatural intelligence.”

You can find claims that this or a very similar definition is a straw man here, here, here, here, here, and here. Luskin says that both parts are wrong, so let’s take them in turn. First, the alleged straw man that

Intelligent design claims that life is so complex, it could not have evolved.

(Emphasis added) Surely no one affiliated with the Discovery Institute has said anything like that. Certainly not on the very same blog. It sounds kind of familiar, though…oh yeah, here’s Michael Behe, also on Evolution News & Views:

Cells are simply too complex to have evolved randomly; intelligence was required to produce them.

Let me get this straight:

life is so complex, it could not have evolved” is a “false, straw-man version” of

Cells are simply too complex to have evolved.

Can we drop this now? “…life is so complex, it could not have evolved” is not a “false, straw-man version of ID” ; it is the actual argument that Michael Behe, a leading light of intelligent design by any measure, has made, nearly word for word. The Discovery Institute is claiming that critics of intelligent design are intentionally misrepresenting it when they define it the same way Michael Behe does. It reminds me of Barry Arrington’s rigged Turing test, where definitions of intelligent design identical to those from ID proponents were rejected as “superficial and contemptuous” when provided by ID critics.

What about the second part of the alleged straw man:

Intelligent design claims that life is so complex, it could not have evolved, therefore it was designed by a supernatural intelligence.

Surely no one associated with the Discovery Institute has ever claimed that the designer was supernatural. No and no and no and no and no. Except…well, I’ll get to that next time.

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