does the design argument need an ‘atheist’ framework?…//Darwin Devolves: The New Science About DNA That Challenges Evolution – Michael J. Behe – Google Books

Behe’s new book has arrived and the debate over evolution continues ad infinitum. I have not as yet read the book but google books has a hefty selection. I question at once the misleading idea that ‘design’ challenges ‘evolution’: it only challenges darwinism and Behe is either careless on this point or tossing a crust to hard core creationists. But more generally the case for design in nature is strong…until ID proponents come along and spoil their own argument. Meanwhile the clueless realm of darwinists still to this day peddles the dogmas of evolution by accident in the theology of Dawkins et al. Sometimes you feel like shouting in the ear of the darwinists: they have done an immense disservice in confusing the public so badly for so long. But the ID proponents are their own worst enemy.

We have many times distinguished ‘design’ and ‘intelligent design’: the distinction is essential because there is strong evidence of design in nature but that does not prove the existence of ‘intelligence’ in nature in the sense of an intelligent mind at work.  The minute you corrupt your terminology to play to a religious audience all the issues of ‘god semantics’ come forward to completely wreck your argument. And the same happens with teleology which is not a theological issue.
First, it could be true, creationism could be right but even so the ID group will end up making a mess of the issue. Biblical creationism is a lost cause.

One must recommend reading Kant and then perhaps Schopenhauer: the latter’s idea of the Will in Nature shows how an atheist just might be closer to some answers: the ‘god’ idea is too confused for serious use in science. The ID group strains and then spoils its own set of insights into design. The religious muddle here will move from an argument for design, which is sound, to an inference about ‘intelligence’ to a blend of theology and science and thence a wink to fundamentalists that they were right all along.
If you think there is a mind in nature, you have a far superior version in someone like Hegel whose idea of ‘geist’ is withing range of the idea of ‘intelligent design’. Schopenhauer is perhaps even better because the idea of ‘will’, while it might be relevant to naturalism, cannot be scotch taped onto a ‘god’ concept: it is a fundamental question beyond the realm of theistic imagination.
The problem is that, Hegel apart, and he has been attacked by over a century of marxists, who tend to be clueless darwinists, the theology of ‘god’ in the christian/monotheistic sense in not a candidate for an ‘intelligent designer’. The whole perspective of design in nature has to be quarantined from christianity and the pop theism that rushes in to collate the elements of science in the design argument with the theology of the Old Testament. You cannot achieve scientific objectivity with that strategy, to put it mildly, and the result is a muddle that can’t be sorted out.
You cannot mix the clear evidence for design with the hopeless muddle of the Old/New Testaments.
Let’s face reality: you need to be an ‘atheist’ to do ‘design’ questions. That’s in quotation marks, and there is no settled semantics of ‘god’ but the sad reality is that 99% of all ‘god talk’ is gibberish and can’t do anything but confuse the whole question…

The scientist who has been dubbed the “Father of Intelligent Design” and author of the groundbreaking book Darwin’s Black Box contends that recent scientific discoveries further disprove Darwinism and strengthen the case for an intelligent creator. In his controversial bestseller Darwin’s Black Box, biochemist Michael Behe challenged Darwin’s theory of evolution, arguing that science itself has proven that intelligent design is a better explanation for the origin of life. In Darwin Devolves, Behe advances his argument, presenting new research that offers a startling reconsideration of how Darwin’s mechanism works, weakening the theory’s validity even more. A system of natural selection acting on random mutation, evolution can help make something look and act differently. But evolution never creates something organically. Behe contends that Darwinism actually works by a process of devolution—damaging cells in DNA in order to create something new at the lowest biological levels. This is important, he makes clear, because it shows the Darwinian process cannot explain the creation of life itself. “A process that so easily tears down sophisticated machinery is not one which will build complex, functional systems,” he writes.In addition to disputing the methodology of Darwinism and how it conflicts with the concept of creation, Behe reveals that what makes Intelligent Design unique—and right—is that it acknowledges causation. Evolution proposes that organisms living today are descended with modification from organisms that lived in the distant past. But Intelligent Design goes a step further asking, what caused such astounding changes to take place? What is the reason or mechanism for evolution? For Behe, this is what makes Intelligent Design so important.

Source: Darwin Devolves: The New Science About DNA That Challenges Evolution – Michael J. Behe – Google Books

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