Godspell Follies

Refuting the illogic of "intelligent design" and creationism. An illustrated guide to fallacies of logic.


Fallacy of accident, sweeping generalization, dicto simpliciter

As applied to idism* claims this fallacious argument runs “we observe the products of (human) intelligence, so complex functionality implies intelligent design – biological life is complex and functional – therefore life must have been created by an intelligent designer.” This is the idism reworking of Paley's "Blind Watchmaker" argument (1802) argument.

The illogical difficulty with this argument lies in the fallacious generalization from our observation that human intelligence creates complex and functional objects (watches, computers, airplanes) to the unfounded conclusion that something that ‘accidentally’ shares only the features of functionality and complexity – biological life – must have arisen by the same mechanism, namely application of intelligence. This fallacious argument could also be regarded as a false analogy. In general, analogies are useful for the purposes of explanation, but they are risky endeavors in arguments. The idism platform, due to its lack of factual or experimental basis, consists almost entirely of analogies. That is idism is 'clearly religious and indubitably not science'.

A clear example of this fallacy: "We observe that tomatoes grow on plants, so the existence of round red fruit implies tomato plants – an apple is a round red fruit – therefore an apple must be the product of a tomato plant." True premises have been over-extrapolated to an incorrect conclusion.

If the complex object in question shares more relevant features with the observed object, then the conclusion may be true. “We observe that electronic devices are the products of human intelligence, so the existence of an electronic device implies human intelligent design – a television is an electronic device – therefore a television must be the product of human intelligence.”

* see 'comments' or the Illogical Deceit Theory post

Index Refuting ID

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Blogger qtr said...

The comment section will be used as a glossary, obviating some of the need to move around the site. If the website’s name shows as blue, you can return to the main page by clicking on “Godspell Follies” or “Home”.

idism = intelligent design theory
idist = intelligent design proponent, for example Behe or Dembski
fodi = fellow of the Discovery Institute, one of the organizations set up for the purpose of promoting intelligent design theory
proid = advocate of intelligent design theory, often an Internet debater

For a full explanation of these terms, see the Illogical Deceit Theory post at: http://refutingid.blogspot.com/2007/12/illogical-deceit-theory.html

5:26 PM  

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