Larry Moran discusses some apologetics from Jonathan McLatchie, in which McLatchie briefly argues for intelligent design. I think the fact that it’s in the context of Christian apologetics already gives away the store, but at least he gives a succinct definition of intelligent design:
The study of patterns in nature which bear the hallmarks of an intelligent cause
Oh, so it’s 19th century natural history? Been there, done that. About two centuries ago and a little less, that was the underlying assumption of natural theology: that studying science was for the purpose of seeing the fingerprints of the creator on its creations. Darwin himself was a fan of Paley, and made his voyage on the Beagle with a head full of such ideas. We all know how that turned out.
But we could define science in a similar way: the study of patterns in nature. Notice what I left out? The presumed conclusion. That’s one of their problems, that they are not open to interpreting the science for what it is, but are trying to shoehorn their desired interpretation into the data, no matter what it is.
McLatchie also makes an analogy to forensic science — here’s a crime scene, let’s figure out who did it. But sometimes no one did it, and it’s an error to try and force a conclusion. If someone is struck by lightning and killed, could I examine the scene and come up with a string of arguments and innuendo that lead to the conclusion that Jonathan McLatchie did it? Sure I could. I could also obsess over it and write long-winded, tenuously logical books that claim that all those natural explanations for lightning are false, and that we need to recognize them as McLatchie-Associated Phenomena.
But that would make me a crank. Just like ID is a crank movement.
Larry also succinctly summarizes ID.
The main goal of the movement is to provide scientific justification for the belief in a creator god. No amount of twisting and turning (apologetics) is going to fool us into thinking that the ID movement has nothing to do with the belief in a creator. The entire movement is just another version of creationism and all you have to do is look on the main ID blogs and websites to see that this is true. That’s why we refer, correctly, to the movement as Intelligent Design Creationism.
True. And it’s been exposed as religiously motivated over and over again.
This has led some of the cranks to claim that pointing out the source of their crankiness is an example of the genetic fallacy. This would only be the case if we were saying ID is wrong because its proponents are religious. That isn’t the case at all: it’s wrong because they fail to support their arguments with good evidence, because they solely make poor arguments against evolutionary theory, and because they all seem to be painfully ignorant of what evolutionary theory is. That leads us to ask why they make such ludicrously bad arguments, and their religious motivation is the answer to that question. They aren’t following the evidence honestly, they are trying to distort it to support their mythology.