The Atheist Missionary’s claim: “The problem with ID is not that it is propounded by the Discovery Institute but rather that it dissuades research into biological origins by asserting a mile “0? without going any further.”
Translation into general claim: “The problem with ID is that once you invoke an intelligent cause as the explanation for a heretofore unexplained phenomenon you undermine the ground for further enquiry.”
A thought experiment to test the general claim:
The scientists were deep in the cave attempting to discern whether the flow of water in the cave could have created the strange rock formations they were witnessing. Suddenly one of the scientists, a grad student named Tammy, exclaimed: “Wait a minute. These formations were created by an intelligence. Look on the wall!”
The other scientists crowded around Tammy to look for themselves. Sure enough. With the light set at a proper angle the strange formations projected shadows on the wall that looked exactly like hunters killing game. Tammy speculated, “There must have been prehistoric hunters in the cave who created these formations and then used candles to illumine them on the wall, perhaps to commemorate a hunt or honor the gods or something.”
And that was it.
Deflated and dejected, the scientists collected their gear and marched dutifully out of the cave. Since Tammy the Spoilsport invoked intelligence there was nothing left to explain. “Science stopper!” Dr. Smith snapped.
“It’s not my fault!” Tammy barked back.
Tammy was right. She wasn’t the science stopper. Intelligent design was.
Bad ole intelligent design.
Sarcastic conclusion from the story testing the general claim
Huh. I guess TAM is right after all. Appealing to intelligence as an explanatory cause does freeze all further inquiry in its tracks.