Skip to main content
Message Font: Serif | Sans-Serif
No. of Recommendations: 8
I think what we have here is a good old fashioned equivocation fallacy -- a situation in which one word can have multiple meanings, and the different meanings are not interchangeable.

As you mentioned, specified CAN mean "nonrandom," but it can also mean "to set forth as a specification." This second meaning implies a conscious act, which means that it is the product of an intelligent being who acts intentionally.

Under this definition, OF COURSE something that was "specified" could trivially be said to be "designed." After all, somebody is specifying it. But if it simply means "nonrandom," then you can't make any such claim. A falling object does not move randomly; it moves down at a predictable rate. That's specified, but unless you believe in Intelligent Falling or some such thing, it is not designed.

So my perception is that Dembski regularly pulls this slight of hand, where he says "Look, these body parts are specified (nonrandom) and therefore they are designed (since we have already established that somebody specified them).

It reminds me of that proof that all horses have an infinite number of legs:
1. A horse has two hind legs in back, and forelegs in front.
2. Two plus four is six, so horses have six legs.
3. Six is an odd number of legs for a horse to have.
4. But six is an even number!
5. Therefore, horses have both an odd and an even number of legs. The only number that matches this property is infinity.
6. Thus all horses have an infinite number of legs.
7. QED
Print the post  


When Life Gives You Lemons
We all have had hardships and made poor decisions. The important thing is how we respond and grow. Read the story of a Fool who started from nothing, and looks to gain everything.
Contact Us
Contact Customer Service and other Fool departments here.
What was Your Dumbest Investment?
Share it with us -- and learn from others' stories of flubs.
Work for Fools?
Winner of the Washingtonian great places to work, and Glassdoor #1 Company to Work For 2015! Have access to all of TMF's online and email products for FREE, and be paid for your contributions to TMF! Click the link and start your Fool career.