Physics, Earth & Space
Dembski responds to Anti-ID article by SETI Astronomer
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.