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The Explanatory Filter and Matrix/DNA

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009

William A. Dembsky mentions of Explanatory Filter: A three-part filter for understanding how to separate and identify cause from intelligent design. (…) There’s no magic, no vitalism, no appeal to occult forces here. Inferring design is widespread, rational, and objectifiable. The purpose of this paper is to formulate Intelligent Design as a scientific theory.

( The whole paper is at: )

An excerpt from a paper presented at the 1996 Mere Creation conference, originally titled “Redesigning Science.”

Center for the Philosophy of Religion, University of Notre Dame

What is science going to look like once Intelligent Design succeeds? To answer this question we need to be clear what we mean by Intelligent Design. Intelligent Design is not repackaged creationism, nor religion masquerading as science. Intelligent Design holds that intelligent causation is an irreducible feature of the bio-physical universe, and furthermore that intelligent causation is empirically detectable. It is unexceptionable that intelligent causes can do things which unintelligent causes cannot. Intelligent Design provides a method for distinguishing between intelligent and unintelligent causes, and then applies this method to the special sciences.  

The key step in formulating Intelligent Design as a scientific theory is to delineate a method for detecting design. Such a method exists, and in fact, we use it implicitly all the time. The method takes the form of a three-stage Explanatory Filter. Given something we think might be designed, we refer it to the filter. If it successfully passes all three stages of the filter, then we are warranted asserting it is designed. Roughly speaking the filter asks three questions and in the following order:

(1) Does a law explain it?

(2) Does chance explain it?

(3) Does design explain it?

First suggestion from Matrix/DNA:

“The method of Explanatory Filter ( EF) is very useful in the Court, but Mr. Dembsky is trying to apply for the judgement of natural phenomenas and events. He wants apply it directly to abiogenesis and concludes that irreducible complexity implies Inteligent Design. I think we have problems here. First of all, the whole history of abiogeneses is a history of macro-embryogenese. Then, the genetics laws must explain it. But sometimes there is mutation by chance. And every embryo is product of a prior design. Not inteligent. Genetics is somethinbg that produces design, but there is no intelligence involved. A rat father is the designer of another rat, but it did not used intelligence for doing a rat.

By the way, the issue is open and we need to study it.”