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?
If they do have a BS detector over at the Templeton Foundation, they couldn't have rejected Behe as a result of it going into alarm as it must have been in alarm ever since Templeton established the Foundation or installed the thing (way before Behe's discussions with them)!
Because it wasn't trying to prove it. Like most anti-Evolutionists, you have basically no idea of what you are talking about, having gotten your information from some creationist claptrap site. Here's a layman's article on the experiment.
You must be hoping no one actually visits the site.
The John Templeton Foundation does not support research or programs that deny large areas of well-documented scientific knowledge. In addition, we do not support political agendas such as movements to determine (one way or the other) what qualified educators should or should not teach in public schools. However, it is not the policy of the John Templeton Foundation to black list organizations or individual scholars or to proscribe the outcome of well-designed research projects. In addition, the Foundation does not itself hold, or require that its grantees accept, any specific position on scholarly questions that remain open to further study. (The Foundations motto is How little we know; how eager to learn.) Thus while it is our judgment that the general process of biological evolution is well attested by many lines of research, it is not clear to what extent the process of evolution or the study of the history of life on earth may reveal hints of broader cosmic, perhaps even divine, purpose and intention.Emphasis mine.
It is therefore possible that, from time to time, the Foundation will support well-designed projects or research that some others may label as intelligent design. But the Foundation does not support the movement known as Intelligent Design as such, as an intellectual position or as a movement. The Foundation is a non-partisan philanthropic organization and makes funding decisions based on a process of peer review as is standard practice in scientific research funding and publication. Our expectation is that the products of Templeton-funded research will appear in high-quality and peer-reviewed journals. If your project takes an anti-evolutionist position scientifically, or seeks to engage in political advocacy concerning evolution or anti-evolution, it is unlikely to pass through the initial filters and external expert review process of the John Templeton Foundation. In contrast, some advocates of the ID position have received grants from the Foundation on the basis of successful participation in intellectually-rigorous, openly-judged and peer-reviewed grant competitions.
Charles L. Harper Jr., senior vice president at the Templeton Foundation wrote:
The Templeton Foundation, a major supporter of projects seeking to reconcile science and religion, says that after providing a few grants for conferences and courses to debate intelligent design, they asked proponents to submit proposals for actual research.
They never came in, said Charles L. Harper Jr., senior vice president at the Templeton Foundation, who said that while he was skeptical from the beginning, other foundation officials were initially intrigued and later grew disillusioned.
From the point of view of rigor and intellectual seriousness, the intelligent design people dont come out very well in our world of scientific review, he said.
He's almost the whole show. The issue was fuzzy when he started but he's held on about 10 years too long.
He thinks birds descended directly from archosaurs, the parent group of dinos.
I know...abiogenesis is not the same as evolution (However, a link provided on this thread to Scientific American's website calls abiogenesis chemical evolution...so don't we just go from one kind of evolution that allegedly explains the origin of life and another that allegedly explains speciation on a grand scale...Are not biological and chemical evolution linked?)
The point was that museums pass of abiogenesis speculation as scientific theory relating to the origin of all life.
I understand the evidence provided for human evolution from a common primate ancestor...Do we have actual evidence that it is the clean line of the monkey walking into an ape walking into a human that is displayed? (no.)
In 10 or 20 years, you'll be eating your words.
Perhaps you ought to inform the authors of biology textbooks who bring abiogenesis into discussions of evolution that they are out of bounds. Most biology textbooks present evolution as a progression from the simple to the more complex. On what basis do paleontologists assert they are capable of constructing good evolutionary histories? They assume that similarities in form necessarily point to common history. That in itself is a huge leap of faith.
. . . physics textbooks also say that the planets revolve around the sun without mention of God either.
Physics enjoys present phenomena to observe and record. Anyone is free to assert purely natural causes to all phenomena. Will billions of years of billions of combinations of matter a virgin birth here and there should hardly be scientifically impossible, let alone improbable.
Shows that this fossil never had feathers or protofeathers (just wishful thinking by many not-so scientific evolutionists).
There was a press conference and there were several articles written and posted on the internet.
No wonder they "never came in."
Yeah, the BS detector headed them off at the pass and the VP provided a PC disclaimer to CYA.
Wll, that's what I think happened.
What wishful thinking looks like.
I just did a Scholar Google search on "Sinosauroptyrex" (your spelling). I could not find any papers published on the critter. Is it possible this is a misspelling of the name? Honestly, before today's thread I do not remember coming across this critter before.
Right. And the problem with Feduccia's premise is that there shouldn't be any feathered dinosaurs at all, unless all the dinos from day one had them. Thus it's absurd to harp on the most ambiguous, and perhaps even the most primitively scale-like fossil feathers when we have so many unambiguous fossil dinosaur feathers that wreck his case.
"From time to time the Foundation will support well-designed projects or research that some others may label as "intelligent design" ..."
"...some advocates of the ID position have received grants from the Foundation."
In the portion of the link that you did not post...I am pretty sure that it refers to the Foundation supporting the ID debate.
No lies...just what it says.
If only you were as critical towards the proponents of the evolutionary theory..."science" may get away with less wishful thinking.
The composition of the earth's primitive environment is often discussed in relation to how it might give rise to life. If one is going to insist upon unintelligent causes for such things, it only stands to reason that the whole progression from non-life to life falls within the purview of science. Why is this question suddenly considered beyond scientific consideration? Don't you think it is a tad disingenous to imply that science does not talk about abiogensis, or that it has "nothing to do with evolution?" I would consider it a remarkable evolution for substances to change from non-living to living, no matter what the cause.