Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Could Design be ‘Intelligent’?

Politicians Sway With What They Say

Rob Kyff

"Intelligent design."

Journalist Stephen Poole calls terms such as these "Unspeak," and that's the title of his compelling book about the manipulation of language.

While politicians have traditionally used euphemisms and doublespeak to conceal the truth, Poole explains, Unspeak seeks instead to convey an unspoken argument . . . "intelligent design" makes divine creation sound like an empirically validated scientific phenomenon.

Kent comments:

This is from Kyff’s column which he calls “The Word Guy.”  It comes once per week from ArcaMax, which carries many things, including comic strips.  Kyff’s weekly is usually very interesting and even helpful, but this week it has much in common with the comic strips.

In spite of what “Journalist Stephen Poole” says, the point of putting “intelligent” in front of “design” is to describe a view in a way that distinguishes it from “accidental design” or perhaps “apparent design.”

Note to Rob Kyff – apparent design (which according to its proponents turns out to be accidental) is a very popular view.  One alternative is “intelligent design.”  The point of the label is not to presume that this view is intelligent.  The point of the label is to indicate that, according to this view at least, there was “an intelligence” behind the design, and thus the design is not merely apparent.

It appears that both Poole and Kyff are either unaware of this, or choose to ignore it just to create a supposed example of “Unspeak.”  I now need to read Kyff’s column with more scrutiny.

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