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?
Where can I read Behe's written proposal for a falsifiable test of ID? Also, where can I read Templeton's official rejection of Behe's paper from BEFORE it was submitted?
Well, from what I read they had some verbal discussions with Behe and soon thereafter shut the door to him...without additional comment.
Try any major university library--that's where its all hidden. The shelves are brimming with evidence, aisle after aisle and floor after floor.
But just try putting that out volume of information out the public and see how far you get. "The public" has trouble with anything beyond entry level science, and many are just not interested. That's fine, not everyone likes the same things, and to become really good in even a narrow field may take many years of study and research.
The fault may lie more with reporters and populizers of science, many of whom are scientifically illiterate themselves.
I am pretty sure it was here.
I don't think the rejection was "official." Templeton simply stopped interacting with Behe altogether.
If that site doesn't have the info, let me know, because I have it somewhere amidst all the clutter.
As it turns out, it was just wishful thinking on many evolutionists part...There are no feathers on this fossil. (They were even warned, in 1997, at the finding of the fossil but they were so zealous for a transitional that it was deemed to be feathered before more rigorous study could be done.)
Any museum that talks about a single cell evolving out of a primordial ooze some million/billion years ago is labeling an assumption as science (misrepresenting what the evidence states).
Any museum that shows a clean, straight, line of monkey to ape to human evolution is misrepresenting what is scientifically theorized (common ancestor...no clean lines).
Didn't mean to imply these were to be completed papers. Templeton wanted research proposals and presumably meant to fund anything promising.
Boy, do you ask tough questions...but I've read parts of it and does it stink.
I will try to find a link for you...it's laying around here somewhere.
It is completely plausible, given the facts that we have, that Evolution is the driving engine of terrestrial life. If God created it(monotheism), then the ultimate question would be, fine, what created God?
Someone at Darwin Central previously posted (not this thread...another) that Darwin was on the HMS Beagle for purposes of providing company to the captain (not to be the ship's physician).
Which is it?
On leaving Cambridge in the spring of 1831 Darwin, in preparation for a scientific trip to the Canary Islands, read Alexander von Humboldt's Personal Narrative of Travels to the Equinoctial Regions of the New Continent, a scientific travelogue of a journey to Central and the northern parts of South America. At Henslow's recommendation he accompanied Adam Sedgwick, Woodwardian professor of geology at Cambridge, on a three-week tour of North Wales to learn geologic fieldwork.
In August 1831, at Henslow's recommendation to the Admiralty, Darwin was invited to sail as the unpaid naturalist on HMS Beagle. The ship was to survey the east and west coasts of South America and continue to the Pacific islands to establish a chain of chronometric stations.
Henslow suggested Darwin as both an acute observer and a companion for the aristocratic young captain, Robert FitzRoy. (The Beagle already had a naturalist-surgeon, but one whom FitzRoy found socially unsuitable.) Robert Darwin first refused permission on grounds that it was dangerous and would not advance Charles in his career. But upon the intercession of his brother-in-law, Josiah Wedgwood II, he changed his mind.
Funny they pretty much all still do that. Maybe Alan Feduccia is a crackpot?
I've seen portions of Behe's proposal and he sinks his own ship when he gets into his tautological definition of irreducible complexity.
I'm trying to find that link as I type this, but...I will, it just may take some time.
The link that PatrickHenry provided states that the Foundation funds ID research and supports the ID debate.
"I know for a fact that Discovery Institute tried to interest the Templeton Foundation in funding fundamental research on ID that would be publishable in places like PNAS and Journal of Molecular Biology (research that got funded without Templeton support and now has been published in these journals), and the Templeton Foundation cut off discussion before a proposal was even on the table."
Here's one link.
No. We were talking about the composition of the Earth's primitive environment. Still trying to change the subject, I see.
At your suggestion, I'll read "Finding Darwin's God". I've read both sides of the argument, and grew-up immersed in Darwinism, as we all did. There's another book I've only perused at the book store, "The Case for a Creator", by Lee Strobel. I remember the interviews with Ph.D. physicists/cosmologists. Like Behe's work, I found it compelling.
There are things, like the Cambrian Explosion, that should make one wonder about ID, completely independent of anything Behe might write. Also, as I recall, either Watson or Crick believed that DNA did not evolve on Earth, but came from elsewhere.
I'm neither a Christian or relgious. Merely curious enough to put aside long-held beliefs and entertain the arguments being made.