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At this point I'm only arguing that whatever you perceive as faulty design does not argue "no design".

If Microsoft designs an operating system with enough problems to make you long for the next one to be released, is that evidence that Windows ME was not designed?

And for Kazim's benefit, just to be clear, I'm arguing design in a general sense, this has nothing to do with ID theory.

I have a problem with the way you are constantly flip-flopping the frames that you work with, sometimes even in the middle of a thought.

Look, when you (you personally, Bryan) are talking about the universe having "a designer" you are talking about God. You know it's God. I know it's God. Ben Stein knows it's God. Bill O'Reilly knows it's God. Those guys in Dover knew it was God. Phillip Johnson definitely knows it's God. Behe and Dembski both know it's God.

And when I ask you directly, to your credit, you say "Yeah, I believe it's God." But when you're talking about "design in general" you feel free to throw around these analogies which assume an imperfect, bumbling, haphazard designer.

Here's my problem with that, and I think it goes to the core issue of why ID isn't science. Those two theories are mutually exclusive. You cannot simultaneously put forth the idea that "There is a bumbling designer, who writes inefficient hacks into creation like Microsoft employees" while simultaneously saying "I just want to establish that there is some kind of designer first, although eventually the argument may or may not work around to the idea that the designer is God."

Once you postulate a bumbling designer, you rule out your god. It's that simple. You can't just argue for a kind of "generalized design" (obviously there is no such thing as a designer without properties) while at the same time accepting logically contradictory statements about the designer.

This is why it is a good idea to work towards a theory, not of some kind of "generic designer," but actually make hypotheses about precisely what the designer is like and then test those hypotheses. If the question is "Does this imaginary designer have a plan, or does he tinker and guess?" then your answer should not be "That's not for us to know!" It's intellectually lazy, it's a dodge, and it is a deliberate way to avoid one of the primary responsibilities of science, which is to think of ways to test your own claims.

Now, I think I know what you're going to say next, and it's this: "But nobody has found out exactly how the flagellum evolved, and that doesn't bother you!" And that's true, but there's a major difference at work. The fact that the flagellum evolved fits in with a very detailed existing model based on observable facts, which indicates that complex parts in general do evolve (like the eye, as Behe agrees) and co-opt existing smaller pieces to get there. Your "hypothetical abstract designer" contains elements within itself that not only don't fit with understood theories, but are also mutually contradictory.

If you believe that the designer is "God," then you need to find an explanation for why "God" appears to be such a screwup. If you believe the designer is "The Microsoft Team" then you need to acknowledge the fact that you're looking for a designer who very explicitly CANNOT be God. But you can't say "this one way of looking at things explains observation A, and this other way of looking at things explains observation B." A real theory would explain both A and B without having to exclude the other.
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