This is one of the best Qs of the Q&A. I was REALLY proud of this young lady-- Not only was she well spoken, but she got Dembski to say some funny stuff :)
Young lady-- How is positing a supernatural cause or a designing intelligence reducing, rather than widening, escalating levels of improbability?-----------------------
Dembski-- Weh, whe, well, when you say 'escalating levels of improbability', youre using word magic there. A designer is inherently improbable...?
Young lady-- Youre leaving the laws of natural science behind and positing an intelligent designer. To me that seems a lot more highly improbable...
Dembski-- Youre using improbability as some sort of subjective belief.
Young lady-- In relation to what youre saying, it seems just as improbable that there is some supernatural being directing evolution than to say maybe we dont understand everything just yet, but perhaps there are biological causes.
Dembski-- Well, I mean, your throwing these probabilities around. *rabble rabble*
Young lady-- So how do you even up with a probability of an intelligent designer? Dont you have to weigh the two probabilities?
Dembski-- Why does that probability even come in?
*audience laughs in disbelief*
Young lady, also in disbelief-- You have to know the probability of a designer if youre going to weigh the two probabilities!!
Dembski-- Whe whe whe we can do a Bayesian analysis! Ahhh, your and my probabilities of a designer are very different. So it would be better to have a methodology that didnt require probabilities for a designer.
*audience laughs again*
Dembski-- Weh we can do a Bayesian sort of thing, given to me it is infinitesimally small I mean, you know, I mean... Here is a standard example.. weeh ehhh beyhh... we need to do this for the sake of the audience. Eeeh you hear some sound up in the attic, you know? Sounds like gremlins, ehh, bowling. Bowling. Gremlins bowling. Thats ahh, would be ahhh, you know, that would explain it. Eh eh, highly unlikely that you know. If there are gremlins up there, bowling, then that would explain the sound. But whats the prior likelihood of there being gremlins? Its highly improbable. So even though if there were gremlins it would explain that, the high improbability that there are gremlins means dont give that explanation a second thought. I think thats how the design hypothesis works for you. For others it doesnt work that way. Okay? So in a sense, if were going to decide this issue, its not going to be on the basis of assigning some sort of prior probability of design. You have to look at the actual improbabilities of this evolutionary system. The thing is, nobody that I see has been trying to do that sort of move. I mean, Richard Dawkins does not try to look at the prior improbability of god, hes trying to say "Look, its highly probable you get these systems because when you do the analysis, Darwinism is a strategy that can climb Mount Improbable", thats his whole point!
I think some of you more familiar with Dembskis 'math' will have fun with this exchange. But Im not, so Im going to let you all play with that aspect of this Q.
- What I liked about this exchange is that it once again demonstrates that IDC is a negative argument. THEY dont have to provide probabilities of a designer. They just have to declare an evolutionary system impossible and declare victory.
- Dembski compared the probability of his designer to the probability a noise in your attic is caused by gremlins bowling. I dont think I could have said it better myself.
- Richard Dawkins does indeed address the improbability of a designer. Page 113, 'The God Delusion.' He addresses the very retardation Dembski "eeehed" and "wehed" and "beyed" about the misuse of 'improbabilities' by Creationists.
- ID Creationists are not eloquent. That last schpeal by Dembski was one of the dumbest things Ive heard escape the lips of a 'professional.' "Bayesian sort of thing", ugh.