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Dembski responds to Anti-ID article by SETI Astronomer

Casey Luskin

Space.com has an article against intelligent design entitled “SETI and Intelligent Design” by Seth Shostak, Senior Astronomer at the SETI (Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence) Institute.

William Dembski has provided a clear response to Shostak’s article at http://www.uncommondescent.com/index.php/archives/541.

Shostak’s essential argument is that SETI doesn’t search for intelligent design, but rather “artificiality” in the universe:

“SETI were to announce that we’re not alone because it had detected a signal, it would be on the basis of artificiality. An endless, sinusoidal signal — a dead simple tone — is not complex; it’s artificial. Such a tone just doesn’t seem to be generated by natural astrophysical processes.”

Incidentally, Shostak’s methods sound similar to how pro-ID philosopher Del Ratzsch argues we can detect design by searching for “counterflow” in nature:

“Counterflow refers to things running contrary to what, in the relevant sense, would (or might) have resulted or occurred had nature operated freely. When agents redirect, restrain or constrain nature, they leave counterflow marks. Ratzsch goes on to say that counterflow can be injected into initial states, processes, or results (p.7). Counterflow is important in identifying agent activity in a given structure.”

(Counterflow entry in ISCID Encyclopedia of Science and Philosophy–see also Ratzsch’s excellent book Nature, Design, and Science: The Status of Design in Natural Science for a more detailed description)

Perhaps the methods of ID proponents and SETI are not so different after all.

To reiterate, Dembski’s more complete response is at http://www.uncommondescent.com/index.php/archives/541.

 

Casey Luskin

Associate Director, Center for Science and Culture
Casey Luskin is a geologist and an attorney with graduate degrees in science and law, giving him expertise in both the scientific and legal dimensions of the debate over evolution. He earned his PhD in Geology from the University of Johannesburg, and BS and MS degrees in Earth Sciences from the University of California, San Diego, where he studied evolution extensively at both the graduate and undergraduate levels. His law degree is from the University of San Diego, where he focused his studies on First Amendment law, education law, and environmental law.

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Search for ExtraTerrestrial IntelligenceSeth SostakSETIWilliam A. Dembski