Through some misfortune I ended up a the creationist blog Telic Thought, and reading a so-called “inductive argument for ID” which goes like this
1) No known non-intelligent processes exist that produced living organisms on Earth.
2) All researched non-intelligent processes to produce living organisms appear exceedingly improbable and implausible.
3) All known processes that produce living organisms are intelligently designed (biologists designing living organisms).
4) Therefore, by inductive reasoning, it is probable that the processes that produced living organisms on Earth were intelligently designed.
I’m still not sure if Telic Thought is a serious ID site, or if it’s a very subtle parody. It goes back to Russell’s Law – that it’s impossible to distinguish a creationist from a parody of a creationist (see here, for a nice example).
To begin with, the first sentence is obviously too silly for words, but for arguments sake let’s assume it isn’t a parody, and that the author was talking about the de novo creation of living things. Of course, in that case the statement should be [n]o known
non-intelligent processes exist that produced [de novo] living organisms on Earth. Again, assuming that this isn’t a parody, the poster had a PZ Myers post in mind, about the possibility creating “designer” organisms in the lab…although, of course, mimicking what exists isn’t de novo creation of living things. (I’m more convinced that this post is a parody).
His second point is the assertion that [a]ll researched non-intelligent processes to produce living organisms appear exceedingly improbable and implausible. Yep – for humans, it’s only one out of a few million sperm that actually fertilise an egg, and when you average that over the fertile lifespan of the average male, it’s incredibly implausible that any given human is ever born. In fact, the probability that just that one sperm gave rise to you is much, much greater than the number of humans that has existed in the world. And yet, exceedingly improbable and implausible events have given rise to 6.5 billion of us. Obviously no one could ever be born without an intelligent designer picking out that one sperm. If we (charitably? or uncharitably?) assume that the person meant the origin of life on earth…well, what’s the basis for the assumption that the process was exceedingly improbable and implausible? Quite on the contrary, I suspect that it’s highly probable that, given the right set of conditions, life-like things could have arisen spontaneously. Of course, the non-intelligent bit is just filler – there are no “intelligent” alternatives that have produced life.
The third point is based on the (rather silly) second point, but anyway, says [a] ll known processes that produce living organisms are intelligently designed (biologists designing living organisms)…except that (a) there are no designed living organisms, and (b) any human-created organisms are just copies of what already exists.
And based on four deeply flawed premises he concludes [t]herefore, by inductive reasoning, it is probable that the processes that produced living organisms on Earth were intelligently designed. Nope. All he has actually done is conclude that A = A. He asserts that we don’t know any mechanisms which created “living things” (maybe someone should explain sex to this guy), and concludes that we don’t know any mechanisms which give rise to living things. Parody of a creationist or not? I just can’t tell.