Daily Archives: June 12, 2010

The False Dichotomy

In the last entry, we saw that biologist John Avise argues that traits which are gratuitously complicated, function poorly, and debilitate their bearers, all count as evidence against design.  And as I noted, I agree with this assessment.  In fact, Avise is unknowingly participating in one facet of the Design Matrix – the criterion of rationality.  What’s missing from his argument are two things: 1) Assign a numerical score to better nail down and communicate this judgment of irrational design and 2) An acknowledgement that a fair-minded and open-ended analysis would have to include the willingness to score things in the other direction, such that traits which are not gratuitously complicated, function exceedingly well, and do not debilitate their bearers, count as evidence for design.  To argue otherwise would be to engage in apologetics.

But there is a more fundamental problem with Avise’s argument.

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