From the creator of Video Skepdude

The false dichotomy of Intelligent Design

On a recent article posted at the Evolution News website (a creationist website) the following claim is made with respect to the falsifiability of Intelligent Design (I added the bold to emphasize important points):

Thus ID and Darwinism are merely two opposite conclusions drawn from the same question: is there teleology in biology? If there is, ID is true. If there isn’t, Darwinism is true. The falsification of intelligent design is Darwinism. The falsification of Darwinism is intelligent design. Either biology shows evidence of intelligent agency, or it doesn’t. Either intelligent design and Darwinism are both science, or neither is science. If you can’t test the hypothesis of intelligent agency in biology, then you can’t test Darwinism, and Darwinism is immune from evidence and must simply be accepted on faith.

Darwinism is intelligent design’s doppelganger. So why would Darwinists like Dr. Novella claim that ID isn’t falsifiable, when their own theory is the falsification of ID? As it turns out, there’s a method and a reason. If ID isn’t falsifiable, then the question of design in biology can’t be adjudicated by science, and this renders Darwinism immune from evidence. Darwinism must then be accepted on faith.

The truth is that Darwinists aren’t concerned that intelligent design isn’t falsifiable. They’re concerned that it isn’t false.

Ok, we’ll leave aside the fact that there is no such thing as Darwinism, there is evolutionary biology, but Darwinism is not a branch of science in any sense. It’s a construct the IDiots have made up in order to attack it.

Now the technique being used in this passage is what’s known as the “False Dichotomy” fallacy. I’ll explain this to the best of my abilities. It is quite simple really. They set up a false dichotomy which is either evolution is right and there is no design, or we’re right and there is intelligent design. Instead of them offering scientifically acceptable evidence for their proposition they say the following: Because there are only 2 possible choices (the false dichotomy) if one of them is wrong the other must be right. Evolution cannot be right, they maintain, because it cannot explain everything ( no scientific theory to this day has done that) and there are gaps (the famous God of the Gaps bullshit). Therefore evolution can’t be right. As a result ID must be right.

WTF??! They’ve done no work whatsoever. They think they can “prove” a scientific theory based on a philosophical argument? These guys really are stupider than a one celled organism.

Of course their argument is bullshit. Philosophically it falls flat on its face as soon as it starts. Why should there only be two alternatives? Why life either evolved or was created? Why couldn’t it just be? I mean they are saying there is an intelligent designer who they simply assume exists, apparently without a need to explain his origin. If the intelligent designer can simply exist, why can’t life simply exist?

On the other hand, logically speaking, if they can’t prove ID then Evolution wins by default, as they themselves claim in their article. They cannot prove ID because they cannot say anything about their (un) Intelligent Designer. They create a bigger gap than the one they are trying to explain. So they cannot prove ID and Evolution then must be true. Philosophically speaking I can make this argument. Of course any good scientist is not going to rely on word games. They actually do the work. Maybe if the IDiots were to do the same and come up with anything other than philosophical arguments, maybe then we’d take them seriously. But until then, they can find a sharp stick and sit on it.

It is funny how they try to make a cause-and-effect argument and then hypothesize the existence of a cause-less being in order to explain the cause of life. Stooooopid IDiots!


April 18, 2008 - Posted by | Critical Thinking, Evolution, Intelligent Design | , ,


  1. How do we deal with these people? You can’t argue with them using philosophy, science, reason – but only emotion.

    The biggest issue, perhaps, is not people’s actual arguments against evolution/for ID but the fact that people are fighting about it with implications for education.

    In schools where Intelligent Design is allowed, or even mandated to be taught in schools (does this happen anywhere?), what is taught? If ID is less religious and more scientific than Creationism, how would they teach it in a school? Emo Phillips says they’d get to go home early. The answer to most questions would be “God” and they could just stop there. Some IDiots are adamant that ID does NOT specify any particular identity of the IDer, so for them I’ll say the answer is “Intelligent Designer.” Supernatural being? Omniscient entity? Huh?

    Comment by Rebecca Puckett | April 18, 2008 | Reply

  2. Well, Rebecca it is exactly because of its implications on education that this is such a big issue right now. I could really care less if someone wants to believe in crazy stuff. But when they want to pass a science-stopper as science, that’s when it gets personal. The thing that I find funny is how you’ve got lawyers, failed TV “celebrities” and the likes making the case for the “science” behind ID. The best they have to offer is Dembski, a mathematician, and Behe a chemist. Now with all due respect, how much does a mathematician and a chemist know about biology? Probably more than your ordinary person, but even more probably not enough to go against all of Evolutionary biologist. Now, I know that argument is a bit of an ad-hominem, but if they had been able to provide some science for their claims I would not have been able to say that. But all they have to offer is some version of the argument from incredulity. That makes you think about these guy’s abilities as scientists!

    Comment by Skepdude | April 19, 2008 | Reply

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