Skip to comments.10 Ways Darwinists Help Intelligent Design (Part I)
Posted on 08/03/2006 12:22:06 PM PDT by SirLinksalot
10 Ways Darwinists Help Intelligent Design (Part I)
Eighty years after the Scopes Monkey Trial, the public still refuses to accept the idea that Darwins theory of natural selection is a sufficient explanation for complex biological phenomena. In fact, opinion polls show that fewer people are willing to accept the idea that human beings developed from earlier species than they were just ten years ago.
In Britaina country that is not exactly known for fundamentalist Christianityfewer than half accept the theory of evolution as the best description for the development of life. (And more than 40% of those polled believe that creationism or intelligent design (ID) should be taught in school science lessons.) Even doctors, who are more informed about biology than the general public, overwhelmingly (60%) reject the claim that humans evolved through natural processes alone.
Why do so many people have such difficulty accepting the theory? Is it due to a resurgence of religious-based creationism? Or is it that the Discovery Institute and other advocates of Intelligent Design are more persuasive? I believe the credit belongs not to the advocates of ID but to the theorys critics.
Had the critics remained silent, ID might possibly have moldered in obscurity. But instead they launched a counter-offensive, forcing people into choosing sides. The problem is that the more the public learns about modern evolutionary theory, the more skeptical they become.
I wont argue that critics of ID are always wrong or that ID is alwaysor even mostlyright in its claims. But I do think a compelling case can be made that the anti-IDers are losing the rhetorical battle. Here is the first five in a list of ten reasons ways in which they are helping to promote the theory of intelligent design:
#1 By remaining completely ignorant about ID while knocking down strawman versions of the theory. Whether due to intellectual snobbery or intellectual laziness, too many critics of ID never bother to understand what the term means, much less learn the general tenets of the theory. Instead, they knock down a strawman version of ID that they have gleaned from other, equally ill-informed, critics. The belligerent or paranoid advocates of ID will assume that the misrepresentation is due to dishonesty or a conspiracy by Darwinists. But even those who are more charitable will agree that when a critic misrepresents the theory, it undermines their own credibility.
#2 By claiming that ID is stealth creationism. -- Resorting to this red herring is one of the most common arguments made against ID. While its true that ID could be used to promote a particular religious agenda, this is not a sufficient argument against it being a legitimate scientific research program. There is no a priori reason why a research program could not be completely in adherence to accepted scientific methods and yet be completely compatible with a particular religious viewpoint.
But it also refuses to acknowledge the vast majority of people throughout history have believed in at least a basic form of creationism. Most people believe that some form of intelligent being (i.e., God) created the universe and everything in it. For most of these people, creationism is not a derogatory term. The phrase stealth creationism might appeal to the pseudo-intellectuals (those who know almost nothing about science but do know that they despise fundamentalist Christians) yet for most ordinary people it sounds like bigoted nonsense.
#3 By resorting to science of the gaps arguments. Critics of ID often claim that the theory relies on a God of the Gaps argument. (Dont understand how something occurred? Well God did it. Case closed.) As scientific reasoning, this method is obviously flawed. Yet the critics of ID often resort to the same tactic, only instead of saying God did it they claim Science will find it.
The problem is that this almost never happens. Closing a "science gap" almost always leads to the discovery of other, even more difficult to explain gaps in knowledge. For example, when evolution was first proposed by Darwin, there was no explanation for the mechanism of transmission of traits from one generation to the next. With the discovery of DNA, Watson and Crick closed that particular gap.
But as physicist David Snoke notes, no one today has an adequate explanation for how this highly complicated molecule arose out of nowhere. Also, we do not have an adequate explanation within chemical evolutionary theory for the appearance of the mechanism that gives us a readout of the information, or for the appearance of methods that replicate information with out error, or for the appearance of the delicate balance of repair and maintenance of the molecular systems that use the information stored in DNA.
Scientific discoveries tend to find that nature is even more complex than we imagined which makes it even more unlikely that a process like natural selection is a sufficient explanation.
#4 By claiming that ID isnt science since it's not published peer-reviewed literature...and then refusing to allow publications of ID papers in peer-reviewed journals. The hypocrisy of snubbing ID because it lacks peer-review was exposed by the treatment of Richard Sternberg, a journal editor who made the career-killing mistake of actually publishing an article that was sympathetic to ID.
The resulting controversy exposed just how close-minded some scientists were to criticisms of neo-Darwinism. As Sternbergwho is not an advocate of ID--said after the incident, It's fascinating how the 'creationist' label is falsely applied to anyone who raises any questions about neo-Darwinian evolutionary theory. The reaction to the paper by some [anti-creationist] extremists suggests that the thought police are alive and well in the scientific community."
#5 By making claims that natural selection is responsible for all behaviors and biological features. -- Instead of saying that God created X, Darwinists tend to claim that Sex selection created X. Take, for instance, this statement made by zoologist Richard Dawkins:
"Why did humans lose their body hair? Why did they start walking on their hind legs? Why did they develop big brains? I think that the answer to all three questions is sexual selection," Dawkins said. Hairlessness advertises your health to potential mates, he explained. The less hair you have on your body, the less real estate you make available to lice and other ectoparasites. Of course, it was worth keeping the hair on our heads to protect against sunstroke, which can be very dangerous in Africa, where we evolved. As for the hair in our armpits and pubic regions, that was probably retained because it helps disseminate "pheromones," airborne scent signals that still play a bigger role in our sex lives than most of us realize.
Why did we lose our body hair? Sex selection. Why do we retain some body hair? Yep, sex selection. Why do humans walk on two legs? Again, the same answer, sex selection. Why do dogs walk on all four? You guessed it, sex selection.
The same goes for human behavior. Hardly a week goes by that some newspaper or magazine article does not include a story claiming how evolution is the reason humans do X, avoid Y, or prefer Z.
Even scientists grow weary of hearing such faith claims presented as if was science. As Philip S. Skell, emeritus professor at Pennsylvania State University, and a member of the National Academy of Sciences, notes in a recent edition of The Scientist:
Darwinian explanations for [human behavior] are often too supple: Natural selection makes humans self- centered and aggressive - except when it makes them altruistic and peaceable. Or natural selection produces virile men who eagerly spread their seed - except when it prefers men who are faithful protectors and providers. When an explanation is so supple that it can explain any behavior, it is difficult to test it experimentally, much less use it as a catalyst for scientific discovery.
Even those who flunked high school biology can see that when a theory can be used to prove any behavior that it ceases to be science and enters the realm of faith. Yet when evolutionists make such claims they are often flummoxed by the publics skeptical reaction. They cant understand how we could be so stupid as to not accept their claims. And we wonder how they could be so stupid as to think we are really that gullible.
To be continued in Part II
Actually, IIRC, the Bible was unique in suggesting a beginning.
In fact, science pooh-poohed the concept of a beginning until scientists proved there had to have been one.
The Bible said it long ago. Science figured it out only recently.
If the IDers conclude that some phenomena is the product of ID, does that mean they are opposed to any further research to discover a natural explanation for this phenomena?
That's OK. I don't want to hijack a scientific thread for a philosophical discussion. Philosophy is much to important a discipline to waste on scientific pursuits.
"Not the ones that keep these threads alive. The dog breeders create a fascinating variety of dogs. But they always get dogs. Everyone knows this and NOBODY is arguing about it.
As you said, things change.
The sticking point is where the dogs came from, what mechanism introduced the change from what they were to dogs, and where the long series of proto-dogs is that connects dogs to slime.
Humans have not been breeding dogs long enough for speciation to occur. If you want to see speciation in the canidae, you can find some very nice fossil series. It's one of the best documented in the fossil record.
Google "canidae evolution" (no quotes). You'll find a number of excellent articles on the subject.
Give us another 100,000 years or so of dog breeding, and new species will emerge. They will still be canidae, but will not be able to interbreed (the definition of species).
Give it 100 million years, and who knows what will be there.
"Actually, I remember studying Pasteur's experiment (scientific experiment, no less) that proved it doesn't happen.
Not exactly. It proved that it wasn't the cause of putrefaction. It in no way proved that abiogenesis cannot happen. It only proved that it didn't happen under the conditions of his experiments.
"Actually, IIRC, the Bible was unique in suggesting a beginning."
Well, not really. God was already there. God existed. God created.
What was God's beginning?
In reality, most creation myths start with a deity on the scene. Few have an explanation about how it got there.
Those are the types that give the rest of us a bad image. We're not taking that position. The world is waiting eagerly for the creationists to prove their theory. Let's see it.
To which I respond: First, Why don't you prove evolution?
Even if you are able (and we still see no sign of ongoing abiogenesis in the oceans of Earth), we can still take the position that Genesis 1:11-12 actually says evolution does occur. (Shocking, eh? I'll draw more fire from fellow Christians for this position than from you atheist-mongers on this one! It says, clearly, that the EARTH BROUGHT FORTH LIFE.)
To which I also respond: Since you have no evidence for ongoing abiogenesis, and since we know that conditions on the planet are ripe for Life, why is there no continually new ongoing spontaneous creation process? What's up with that, huh?
To which I also respond: There is also the implied question--since we're dealing with creation--of just what created the universe? Where did the universe come from?
Any rational mind knows the universe cannot be infinitely old. Therefore, it must have had a beginning. And things do not create things, although that is precisely what a minority of mathematicians are attempting to foist, saying that our universe was created by another universe...which was created by...uh...uh...oh, yeah, another universe, ad infinitum, ad nauseam.
That's a child's game. C'mon, it's committing the logical fallacy of begging the question, for those of you who are schooled in logic and rhetoric. It's a cop-out.
Things don't create things. Universes don't create universes. Just because it's big, grand, almost imponderable, doesn't mean it has intrinsic powers to create other grand things. And we know it isn't infinitely old (due to the nature and property of infinities), so therefore, it had a beginning. Q.E.D.
I have to quit for the day, so I can't continue this interesting discussion.
Perhaps we'll pick it up in another thread. Do, though, run those Google searches. There are some interesting articles, and not all of them are on the evolutionary side. They're worth reading.
You have to know just where to stop asking questions to believe in a religion!
One makes hypotheses and tests those hypotheses. It if the confidence one has with the results that differs. Sometimes the confidence limits are set at .0001. Othertimes the limits are much much higher (.10, .20 etc). The scientific method of hypothesis testing is the same across the sciences and one can NEVER EVER "prove" the null hypothesis.
Be interesting to see your proof of same.
And the relevance of opinion polls to science is . . . ?
Well, ID is a young theory. It needs affirmative action.
Darwin's theory of evolution is the last of the great 19th century mystery religions. And as we speak it is now following Freudianism and Marxism into the nether regions, and I'm quite sure that Freud, Marx, and Darwin are commiserating one with the other, in the dark dungeon where discarded gods gather. The problem facing us...with a magnificent body of theoretical accomplishments in physics and mathematics, and a very rich body of descriptive material in biology, is to come to an understanding that when it comes to the large global issues that Darwin's theory is intended to address, we simply do not have a clue. This is a daunting admission to make, but if we're intellectually honest, we should make it. The mechanism that Darwin proposed, that of random search or a stochastic shuffle is known to be inadequate in every domain in which it's applied. It's known to be inadequate in linguistics, and it's certainly inadequate when it comes to the overwhelming complexity of living forms. There is no reason on earth to believe that this mechanism is adequate to the task that it sets itself.
If it should come to pass in the fullness of time that we discover that there is no explanation for life, we will have to accept it. If it should come to pass that we discover in the fullness of time that the only explanation for life is that it is a process designed for transcendental purposes by a transcendental figure, we will have to accept that too. And if that should come to pass, I would like to ask, who among us will genuinely feel diminished?
Do viruses ever become fish? Do they ever grow arms and legs? Do they ever sit in front of a computer and type comments on Free Republic?....Nevermind, I think some viruses do.
Well, it is said, in an ancient document, that a certain Deity changed their form of locomotion as a form of punishment.
You must be at least familiar with the rudiments of Genesis, which said that snakes once existed in a form that DID NOT CRAWL ON THEIR BELLIES, aren't you?
It would really help if David Berlinski actually knew what the heck he's arguing against--or, if he does know what he is arguing against, that he would honestly represent it instead of the parody that he argues against.
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