Skip to comments.Intelligent designís long march to nowhere
Posted on 12/05/2005 4:06:56 AM PST by PatrickHenry
The leaders of the intelligent design movement are once again holding court in America, defending themselves against charges that ID is not science. One of the expert witnesses is Michael Behe, author of the ID movements seminal volume Darwins Black Box. Behe, a professor of biochemistry at Lehigh University, testified about the scientific character of ID in Kitzmiller v. Dover School District, the court case of eight families suing the school district and the school board in Dover, Pa., for mandating the teaching of intelligent design.
Under cross-examination, Behe made many interesting comparisons between ID and the big-bang theory both concepts carry lots of ideological freight. When the big-bang theory was first proposed in the 1920s, many people made hostile objections to its apparent supernatural character. The moment of the big bang looked a lot like the Judeo-Christian creation story, and scientists from Quaker Sir Arthur Eddington to gung-ho atheist Fred Hoyle resisted accepting it.
In his testimony, Behe stated correctly that at the current moment, we have no explanation for the big bang. And, ultimately it may prove to be beyond scientific explanation, he said. The analogy is obvious: I put intelligent design in the same category, he argued.
This comparison is quite interesting. Both ID and the big-bang theory point beyond themselves to something that may very well lie outside of the natural sciences, as they are understood today. Certainly nobody has produced a simple model for the bigbang theory that fits comfortably within the natural sciences, and there are reasons to suppose we never will.
In the same way, ID points to something that lies beyond the natural sciences an intelligent designer capable of orchestrating the appearance of complex structures that cannot have evolved from simpler ones. Does this claim not resemble those made by the proponents of the big bang? Behe asked.
However, this analogy breaks down when you look at the historical period between George Lemaitres first proposal of the big-bang theory in 1927 and the scientific communitys widespread acceptance of the theory in 1965, when scientists empirically confirmed one of the big bangs predictions.
If we continue with Behes analogy, we might expect that the decades before 1965 would have seen big-bang proponents scolding their critics for ideological blindness, of having narrow, limited and inadequate concepts of science. Popular books would have appeared announcing the big-bang theory as a new paradigm, and efforts would have been made to get it into high school astronomy textbooks.
However, none of these things happened. In the decades before the big-bang theory achieved its widespread acceptance in the scientific community its proponents were not campaigning for public acceptance of the theory. They were developing the scientific foundations of theory, and many of them were quite tentative about their endorsements of the theory, awaiting confirmation.
Physicist George Gamow worked out a remarkable empirical prediction for the theory: If the big bang is true, he calculated, the universe should be bathed in a certain type of radiation, which might possibly be detectable. Another physicist, Robert Dicke, started working on a detector at Princeton University to measure this radiation. Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson ended up discovering the radiation by accident at Bell Labs in Murray Hill, N.J., in 1965, after which just about everyone accepted the big bang as the correct theory.
Unfortunately, the proponents of ID arent operating this way. Instead of doing science, they are writing popular books and op-eds. As a result, ID remains theoretically in the same scientific place it was when Phillip Johnson wrote Darwin on Trial little more than a roster of evolutionary theorys weakest links.
|When Behe was asked to explicate the science of ID, he simply listed a number of things that were complex and not adequately explained by evolution. These structures, he said, were intelligently designed. Then, under cross-examination, he said that the explanation for these structures was intelligent activity. He added that ID explains things that appear to be intelligently designed as having resulted from intelligent activity.|
Behe denied that this reasoning was tautological and compared the discernment of intelligently designed structures to observing the Sphinx in Egypt and concluding that it could not have been produced by non-intelligent causes. This is a winsome analogy with a lot of intuitive resonance, but it is hardly comparable to Gamows carefully derived prediction that the big bang would have bathed the universe in microwave radiation with a temperature signature of 3 degrees Kelvin.
After more than a decade of listening to ID proponents claim that ID is good science, dont we deserve better than this?
On the other hand, non-breeders may be helpful to breeders by aiding them in producing more offspring. Worker bees don't breed but they gather.
Da Vinci had extensive training for the time. He worked 6 years as del Verrocchio's apprentice. So da Vinci did get both formal and informal training.
What do you do when you forget a memory-aiding device?
Heck, I'm 64 with a major in math and a degree in chemical engineering and I couldn't remember it. Concepts are fine but details are a no no.
Until Verrocchio became a real boy.
On the contrary, it is an easy matter to dismiss all phenomena as occuring "naturally." That does not make one's conclusions necessarily more reliable, true, or "scientific."
This whole "untestable assumptions" crap you (and other anti-E types) toss out willy-nilly to dismiss research you don't like just does not hold water when looked at objectively.
Change that to research they don't understand.
I sure that specific skills vary genetically, but I do not accept the concept of g. Any large population will have those factors that contribute to survival in that culture. We value counting and reading. It is circular to say that the factors we value define general intelligence.
All populations have exceptional individuals, by any standards. The frequency of these exceptional traits can shift rapidly if they become valuable to the population.
Oops, I think I misread your post. Friendly fire alert!
You'd soon shake yourself of that notion if you walked along some of the streets near my home. Either that or everyone else out there has the IQ of a fencepost. I'm not sure which prospect is more alarming. (anecdotal observations applying to population of many millions disclaimer, before Dr Stoch gets on to me)
Congratulations, the pair of you have come up with the first interesting and novel (to me) comments that have ever arisen as a result of creato homo obsession.
52! ~ 8.065 x 1067.
Of course that's only one deck, dealt one time.
CarolinaGuitarman: That is a very nice position, but it is not open to scientific investigation.
Indeed, that's just my point. You do not have to adhere to "creationism" or ID to believe in a God who created the universe and life, and you're right, this isn't open to scientific investigation. I might recommend the book Finding Darwin's God, by Kenneth Miller; he is a prominent biologist who is a Roman Catholic, who explains why evolution is compatible with Christian theology but why ID is bad theology and bad science.
Rampant agreement placemarker
evolution works on populations, not individuals. There are examples of species with a high proportion of nonreproducing individuals. You can't simple deduce the correct answer to questions like this.
No, but the probability of getting a combination that I value is extremely low, which is why I would find it astonishing to get one.
Take a better analogy: A lottery machine containing 100 billion blue balls and just one red ball. The lottery machine randomly selects a ball. If the selected ball is red I would find that astonishing because the odds of that happening were so low (this is entirely valid astonisment, showing that retrospective astonishment is not always a fallacy)
An argument parallel to your above argument would be that my astonishment at getting a red ball is only due to my perception because I value red balls, and pointing out that the red ball had just as much chance of being selected as any particular blue ball. But it isn't the particular ball that astonishes me, it is the particular color of that ball.
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