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Centre for Arguments from Ignorance

January 9, 2011

The Centre for Intelligent Design has done the world of logic a great service. They have provided us with a text book example of that most favoured of logical fallacies, the argument from ignorance.

My translation of the article:

Scientists made an amazing discovery that involves some big numbers!

I don’t understand evolution, and the big numbers are really big, therefore God exists!

Or something like that. Anyway,slightly more seriously, there’s a video on the article C4ID linked to which is well worth a watch.

There’s another post up on the website which makes for interesting reading. It’s on the philosophy of mind – not something I know much about. But one thing I do know is that the following sentences on Descartes doesn’t make sense.

His claim that the mind is indivisible is supported, interestingly, by certain forms of neuro-surgery.2 When the Corpus Callosum (the bundle of nerve fibres connecting the two brain hemispheres) is severed, the hemispheres are isolated from one another and yet this has no effect on the integrity of any such patient’s personality or continuity as one person.

Doesn’t the example he give show that the mind is divisible – if someone functions perfectly well with their hemispheres disconnected, surely that counts as “dividing” the mind. Or am I missing something?

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. January 9, 2011 5:58 PM

    It’s interesting they don’t link to the article – I did, with a paste of the paper’s conclusions at:
    http://robertsaunders.org.uk/wordpress/2011/01/09/c4id-misrepresent-science-again/
    I certainly have no pretensions to being a neuroscientist, but I don’t think the authors would be impressed by C4ID’s silly take.

  2. January 9, 2011 6:03 PM

    Also, I note that the author of the second article you reference is a correspondent on the subject of ID at the C of E’s newspaper:
    http://www.religiousintelligence.org/churchnewspaper/comment/intelligent-design/
    He’s a GP, I think, not a scientist.

    Robert

  3. January 9, 2011 6:18 PM

    Thanks for the link to the paper, failed to spot that in the cnet article. And I believe you’re right about the author of the second piece – a quick google only found a Dr Antony Latham with a medical degree and an interest in religion. I’m not going to automatically assume he’s using the honorific to try to boost his credibility, in fact it might give him some knowledge of the mind that I don’t posses with my limited study of it. But he’s mainly discussing philosophy, so it’s disingenuous at best.

    I do like his claim in the link you gave that the judge in the Dover trial had “no scientific training”. Coming from a doctor I think this highlights that formal training isn’t a sign of much!

    Thanks for the comments, made me spot that I’d forgotten to link to the second piece – corrected now.

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