Archive for the ‘Design Arguments’ Category

Dallas Willard on David Hume’s acknowledgement of the design argument in Knowing Christ Today:

The almost irresistible impression of a “maker” of the physical universe is no doubt what Paul was referring to when he claimed that the existence and nature of God was “plain” or “shown” to humans. This impression remains very strong up to today. David Hume, often thought to be the prince of modern skeptics, conceded: “The whole frame of nature bespeaks an intelligent author; and no rational enquirer can, after serious reflection, suspend his belief a moment with regard to the primary principles of genuine Theism and Religion.”5  This same outlook survives in the later, carefully guarded concession of Hume’s “Philo,” in the posthumously published Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion, “That the cause or causes of order in the universe probably bear some remote analogy to human intelligence.”6

Misunderstandings of Darwin’s theory of “natural selection” have in more recent times blunted the impact of the reasoning behind this conclusion in the minds of people generally. But in recent years an increased understanding of the astonishing complexity of life has led some who were longtime atheists to reconsider their position.7

The notes are interesting too, and I may add a bit more with comment later.


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Ignorance is the handmaiden of prejudice and discrimination.  Here is some more evidence of it at JPL:

Some testimony from Margaret Weisenfelder:

Q. I’m trying to understand why you feel [ID is] a religious viewpoint, not a scientific viewpoint.

A. I’m really not — I’m not clear on the distinction. I’m not well versed in the idea of intelligent design. … I’m not an expert in any of this. (33:9-19)


Q. And your understanding of intelligent design what’s that based on?

A. Just my own surmise.

Q. Okay. It’s not based on any literature, is it?

A. No, it’s not. (April 3, 2012, PM, 239:1-11)

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It seems pretty clear that the event that started this whole sad case (Coppedge v. JPL) was when Margaret Weisenfelder complained to a supervisor that David Coppedge made her uncomfortable with his offer to loan her a DVD on intelligent design.  The events that led to her complaint seem pretty straightforward, and her account is pretty similar to his account.  She stated in her interview with the human resources investigator and admitted in her deposition the following (see citations and page numbers below):

When he offered to loan her a DVD, she accepted it.

She watched the DVD and found nothing in it that was offensive.

After watching it, she left it on Coppedge’s desk to avoid speaking to him.

She never told him that his offer to loan her a DVD was unwelcome.

She never had a religious discussion with him.

She never had a discussion about intelligent design with him.

She never asked him what the writing on the sticky note (“try again”) stuck to the DVD meant.

She went to his supervisor and complained about him and said it made her “uncomfortable.”

The supervisor, Greg Chin, said in his interview with HR that Weisenfelder accused Coppedge of harassment based on this.


As noted above, these facts come from the statements and testimony of JPL employees, and is consistent with Coppedge’s testimony.  You can find it here, at the following page numbers:

Weisenfelder interview by the JPL HR investigator, page 16.

Weisenfelder deposition, page 5.

Chin interview by the JPL HR investigator, page 60.

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Apparently this is Time magazine’s strategy for a balanced article:

1.  Explain all the strong points from the defendant’s brief.

2.  Explain all the weak points in plaintiff’s brief.

3.  Decide the case before the trial is over (and ignore the opinions of legal experts).

The author, Jeffrey Kluger, also parrots the vague assertions of employees and ignores the actual events that led to Coppedge’s demotion and the threat from his supervisor that he may be fired if he does not forgo his constitutional rights and stop offering to loan colleagues DVDs that feature JPL scientists.  In fact, the woman who first accused Coppedge of religious harassment admitted that 1. Coppedge never discussed religion with her, 2. she accepted the DVD he offered to loan her, 3. she was not offended by the content of the DVD, and 4. she never told Coppedge that any of these actions were unwelcome.

David Klinghoffer observes much the same thing about the Time article, and notes:

The judge on the case, Ernest Hiroshige, read through the same documents and chose not to dismiss the suit as a nuisance. On the contrary, at the rate the trial is proceeding, owing to Hiroshige’s careful, studious pace, this is going to consume probably five weeks of his life. A busy man, Judge Hiroshige obviously felt there was enough substance to Coppedge’s complaint to justify hearing him out along with all the other principal players in the drama, weighing the evidence including the crucial personal testimony, and then drawing a conclusion.

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