Monday, March 28, 2011

Interview: Alastair Noble

Today's interview is with Dr. Alastair Noble, director of the Centre for Intelligent Design in the UK. He talks about his background, how he got interested in ID, a bit about the UK organization, the reception of ID theory in the UK, responses to common objections to ID, objective criteria for design detection, why ID is not creationism, three areas where the evidence of design is indisputable, the influence of worldviews, and more.

Find the Centre for Intelligent Design UK online here. For an introduction to ID, go here.

Full Interview MP3 Audio here. (35 min)



Anonymous said...

I should listen to the audio before I make this comment, but it's something I've thought about for a while in other instances so here goes.

Quote: "why ID is not creationism"

Just an observation for discussion purposes, not intended to start an argument or anything of the sort.

Why are 'Christians' so readily to accept ID but are quick to shove Creation, or mention of it, out the door? ID could very well be true, by intelligent aliens, and I guess creation could also, but the bible does state:

In the beginning God 'created' the heavens and the earth. Genesis 1:1

This preference for identifying with ID and dismissing any reference to Creation appears to be an attempt to hang onto secular scientific dogma and ideas, instead of allowing science which proves creation to support the fact that the bible is true.

Maybe it's playing with words, so to speak, and ID and Creation are interchangeable. I could see an argument for that. I just don't see the concept (or term) ID used in the Bible by God. I keep coming back to:

'God created' 'creation groans' 'new creation'

As I said it could just be me and I can see apologetics move with both words:

1. I believe in Creation, God created the universe...and here are some examples of God's design..............

2. The world is most definitely designed. It shows the handiwork of a designer. Here are some examples of why I see design. Now let me show you that the God of the Bible is the designer.

ID would seem to be more 'of a roundabout' way of getting to God as Creator. I guess any evangelical situation would require knowing who you are talking too and going from there.

Brian said...

Yes, you should listen to the audio, as this questions is specifically addressed. Sorry I don't have time to comment more right now.

Ex N1hilo said...

I listened to the interview, and Dr. Noble does makes many good points.

Nevertheless, I don't understand how the idea that a great mind designed the universe and designed life is not a form of Creationism.

The distinction Dr. Noble is making seems to boil down to this: Creationism is derived from the Bible; while ID arises from consideration of the empirical data, and not from the teachings of the Bible. I have noticed that many ID proponents are eager to make this distinction.

If this is the dividing line between the two, then I would submit that Dr. Noble is in error when he claims that ID gave rise to modern Science. It is beyond serious question that most of the men whom we recognize as the founders of modern Science were inspired by the teachings of the Bible on God and Creation, and by Christian theology.

The first creature of God, in the works of the days, was the light of the sense; the last was the light of reason; and his Sabbath work ever since is the illumination of his spirit.
—Francis Bacon

Those who study the stars have God for a teacher.
— Tycho Brahe

Geometry, which before the origin of things was coeternal with the divine mind and is God himself (for what could there be in God which would not be God himself?), supplied God with patterns for the creation of the world, and passed over to Man along with the image of God; and was not in fact taken in through the eyes.
— Johannes Kepler

8violets said...

Excellent interview. So interesting! Such an intelligent interview, reflective of the reality of design!

Stephen said...

I am constantly frustrated by Dawkins's definition of biology having the "appearance of design." It seems that is you are going to say it appears that way, you must explain why it is not that way. If you don't, what foundation do you have for science? Couldn't an ID or creationist simply say biology has the appearance of being evolved?

Robert said...

Stephen, I don't know how much biology you have studied, but biologists have uncovered vast quantities of evidence over the last century and a half to explain how living things have evolved. Contrast that with the total lack of evidence for design (other than 'it looks that way', which is essentially 'I don't understand, so a supernatural entity must have conjured it into being').
Dr Noble's paranoia that academics are somehow intimidated from supporting ID is risible.

On the subject of ID as creationism, it's instructive to note that ID was actually devised in the USA to circumvent constitutional prohibition of religious teaching (e.g. of creationism) in publicly funded schools. It is a product of the Wedge Strategy (search Wikipedia for 'Wedge Strategy'). ID really is a cover for a creationist world view, no matter how hard Alastair Noble and his evangelical chums at C4ID might argue otherwise.

I look forward to hearing Alastair Noble say who or what his designer is. Satan? Yahweh? Allah? An alien from Betelgeuse? Or maybe his Christian God?

Brian said...

It is a misrepresentation of Alastair's view to say this amounts to "I don't understand, so a supernatural entity must have conjured it into being" -- he responds to that very question in this interview, giving a number of lines of evidence for design.

As for the origins of ID, this ignores the argument that ID makes.

Robert said...


I did not attribute that to Noble. It's a general observation.

Do you supply transcripts?


Brian said...

If it is a general observation, then perhaps you could provide samples or quotes from actual ID proponents where this sort of argument is made.

To bring it up here, especially when Noble specifically addressed it, is either to ignore what he said, or to create a straw man.

I don't provide transcripts at this time - but it seemed to me that you listened to it, due to your allusion to "Dr Noble's paranoia."

Stephen said...

Robert, My point was not against the evidence for evolution. My point was to say that if you admit it looks designed, then say it isn't designed, you must either give evidences for why it isn't designed or explain how you can still trust the observations of your senses when you look at evolution. If you are saying that A is a trick because it looks that way, and we know B is true because I have observed it with the same senses I used to observe A, then you cast doubt on the evidence for B.

I would doubt a creations or ID proponent that merely defined evolution out of biology as well. It isn't an argument, it is a dismissal. It does not engage with the arguments or evidences for ID, it merely says, "It isn't that way."

Robert said...

Having listened through the audio file, Alastair Noble does kind of say that he doesn't understand where all the 'information' in DNA can come from, if not from a designer. He essentially does make an assertion that because he doesn't understand how all that information came to be there, it must have been put there by a designer. At least that's my interpretation of the audio recording.
The thing is, geneticists have a very good understanding of how genetic information appears, and changes through natural biological processes (we actually see these processes happening in the lab).
I'm surprised that Noble relies so heavily on Behe's use of the flagellum as something that's 'irreducibly complex' - this has been well debunked. All his examples are similarly weak.
How does Noble propose a scientific test by which ID could be disproved?
Who (or what) does Noble think is (or was) the designer?

Thanks for providing this interview, it's very interesting to hear Alastair Noble.


Brian said...

Thanks, Robert.

Noble does give reasons here - and it is not a quick jump to designer, as you say.
For those who want to listen to the section, it is between 13 minutes and 16 or so minutes. At 14 minutes he says that he is using the same method that Darwin used: inference to the best explanation. In regards to looking at possible sources for the origin of information, what are the known sources or causes of information? The only known source for functional information is intelligent mind. There are no other known sources of functional information. So to infer that the cause of information is mind is not a "I don't know what did it, therefore a designer."

How does Noble propose a scientific test by which ID could be disproved?
I didn't ask him that question, but if this has been addressed on ID the Future (google the podcast, if you are interested).

Who (or what) does Noble think is (or was) the designer?
You already know the answer if you listened, I think. However, that is beside the point of what ID is looking at. The arguments he is giving argue that the best explanation for design features in the universe on the micro and macro level point to intelligent causation. The argument doesn't intend to deliver an identity of the designer.

Thanks again for your interaction.

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