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Intelligent designís long march to nowhere
Science & Theology News ^ | 05 December 2005 | Karl Giberson

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 movement’s seminal volume Darwin’s 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 big–bang 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 Lemaitre’s first proposal of the big-bang theory in 1927 and the scientific community’s widespread acceptance of the theory in 1965, when scientists empirically confirmed one of the big bang’s predictions.

If we continue with Behe’s 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 aren’t 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 Triallittle more than a roster of evolutionary theory’s 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 Gamow’s 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, don’t we deserve better than this?


Karl Giberson [the author of this piece] is editor in chief at Science & Theology News.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Philosophy
KEYWORDS: crevolist; evochat; goddoodit; idjunkscience; idmillionidiotmarch; intelligentdesign
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To: VadeRetro
Read the study results...They are not related to feathers in anyway...primitive or otherwise.

His team of scientists also provided a few other evidence-based reasons for their objection to the dino-bird theory (specifically, sinosauroptyrex).

381 posted on 12/05/2005 4:35:36 PM PST by pby
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To: VadeRetro
John Templeton Fund

John Templeton Foundation.

382 posted on 12/05/2005 4:37:26 PM PST by VadeRetro (Liberalism is a cancer on society. Creationism is a cancer on conservatism.)
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Somewhat less dishonest than Gould and Dawkins, Darwin was more vocal in admitting the problems gradualism faced in the wake of punctuated equilibria. All of them, and the general community of evolutionists at large, are on their face simply duplicitous. Militant evolutionists do believe in limitless speciation and expect us to swallow broad abiogenesis, but dare not trumpet their duplicity from the wires lest their opponent gain greater public support. These are the militant evolutionists who choose to ignore the compelling nature of the apparent mechanical designs underpinning the delicate balance of life.


383 posted on 12/05/2005 4:40:25 PM PST by dotnetfellow
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To: pby
Read the study results...They are not related to feathers in anyway...primitive or otherwise.

Feduccia is in denial. What's your excuse? And when do you address the points in the post to which you reply?

384 posted on 12/05/2005 4:40:39 PM PST by VadeRetro (Liberalism is a cancer on society. Creationism is a cancer on conservatism.)
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To: dotnetfellow; Stultis
Is there some reason you didn't want Stultis to see your reply to his post?

What are you afraid of?

385 posted on 12/05/2005 4:42:49 PM PST by VadeRetro (Liberalism is a cancer on society. Creationism is a cancer on conservatism.)
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To: dotnetfellow
"Somewhat less dishonest than Gould and Dawkins, Darwin was more vocal in admitting the problems gradualism faced in the wake of punctuated equilibria. All of them, and the general community of evolutionists at large, are on their face simply duplicitous. Militant evolutionists do believe in limitless speciation and expect us to swallow broad abiogenesis, but dare not trumpet their duplicity from the wires lest their opponent gain greater public support. These are the militant evolutionists who choose to ignore the compelling nature of the apparent mechanical designs underpinning the delicate balance of life."

Other than laughable accusations, do you have anything to support this tripe?
386 posted on 12/05/2005 4:45:21 PM PST by CarolinaGuitarman ("There is a grandeur in this view of life...")
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To: dotnetfellow
the apparent mechanical designs underpinning the delicate balance of life.

Such as? Anyway, since you won't answer that, I think we should come to some agreement about the use of "militant." Being conservative here in CT, I'm sick of the adjectives, "militant," "fervent," "rabid," "arch," etc. Your hyperbole makes you sound, well, silly.
387 posted on 12/05/2005 4:48:12 PM PST by whattajoke (I'm back... kinda.)
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To: Doctor Stochastic
Da Vinci had extensive training for the time.

Yes, but it seems to have been primarily in the arts and not the scientific training to which I referred.

388 posted on 12/05/2005 4:49:11 PM PST by catpuppy
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To: Snowbelt Man
if evolution is true and homosexuality is genetic - why are there still homosexuals?

So you believe that homosexuality is genetic? Or are you erroneously assuming that everyone who accepts that the theory of evolution is valid science also believes that homosexuality is genetic? Regardless your question demonstrates that you are fundamentally ignorant of both the concept of recessive genes and phenotypes (and that's just on the most elementary level).

when it comes to science, i'm one of those ignoramuses

You certainly got that right.

who believes that God created man in His own image and homosexuality is a choice that people make.

Why in the hell did you think that homosexuality was somehow relevant to this discussion?
389 posted on 12/05/2005 4:50:35 PM PST by Dimensio (http://angryflower.com/bobsqu.gif <-- required reading before you use your next apostrophe!)
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To: pby
I just went out to the UNC website and did a search. No such papers appeared. Perhaps you would be so kind as to provide a link.
390 posted on 12/05/2005 4:52:53 PM PST by Junior (From now on, I'll stick to science, and leave the hunting alien mutants to the experts!)
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To: VadeRetro
Read my previous post to PatrickHenry on this thread (between post 1 and 200) in which I stated that I knew that Giberson and the Templeton Foundation did not adhere to ID.

You responded to the other posts in which I was making the point that those at Darwin Central would not agree with Templeton and Giberson as a whole relative to their practice of "science" and their complete attitude toward ID and IDers.

That is not a lie.

Would you, or others, agree with Templeton when he states that there is "strong hints" for purpose and design?

Will you , and/or Darwin Central, advocate spending "scientific dollars" researching heaven, prayer, religion, love and etc.?

Would you, and/or Darwin Central fund or support ID, IDers and/or the ID debate in any manner?

No lie...It is clear from PatrickHenry's link that Templeton does support and will fund ID, IDers and/or the ID debate as they deem appropriate.

It is also clear from the link that they do not support the ID movement and the wedge political/lobbying/legal activities that are associated with ID (I also posted that previously on this thread).

Get all the information before you make incorrect hasty generalizations.

(A Darwin Central apology card would be nice though.)

391 posted on 12/05/2005 4:54:29 PM PST by pby
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To: BelegStrongbow
Do we still disagree on any point?

Not that I know of.

So9

392 posted on 12/05/2005 4:56:10 PM PST by Servant of the 9 (Trust Me)
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To: antiRepublicrat
20 points to any old-timers who get that one.

In my day we dealt purely with the binary values going right into the CPU registers.

(Sadly, "my day" was last Saturday)
393 posted on 12/05/2005 4:57:30 PM PST by Dimensio (http://angryflower.com/bobsqu.gif <-- required reading before you use your next apostrophe!)
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To: Fester Chugabrew
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?

Hey Fester! Let me in on this abiogenesis thing.

You're talking about two concepts: Evolution and Abiogenesis. Now, I know this point has been repeatedly hashed and rehashed, but I'll do it again...because it is an important point, the understanding of which is essential to a better understanding of the Theory of Evolution.

Evolution Theory doesn't do abiogenesis. Some scientists do do abiogenesis research, but it's not the focus of research in Evolutionary Theory.

There are overwhelming numbers of scientists who do research directly related to Evolution Theory. Those who research abiogenesis do exist, but are quite fewer in numbers.

The reason for the apparent dichotomy lies in the fact that they are two distinctly different topics.

394 posted on 12/05/2005 5:00:14 PM PST by Rudder
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To: pby
Read my previous post to PatrickHenry on this thread (between post 1 and 200) in which I stated that I knew that Giberson and the Templeton Foundation did not adhere to ID.

They also don't fund it. You said they did. They were interested once and called for papers. None came. Now they aren't much interested, as their guidelines for submissions make crystal clear.

I'll ignore the rest of your brazen nonsense. Grow some integrity.

395 posted on 12/05/2005 5:04:13 PM PST by VadeRetro (Liberalism is a cancer on society. Creationism is a cancer on conservatism.)
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To: Junior
I just found it again at the UNC website (search, news archives):

http://www.unc.edu/news/archives/oct05/feducci100705.htm

The study was also posted online on October 10, 2005 at the Journal of Morphology website.

396 posted on 12/05/2005 5:04:26 PM PST by pby
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To: Rudder
Evolution Theory doesn't do abiogenesis. Some scientists do do abiogenesis research, but it's not the focus of research in Evolutionary Theory.

There is a point at which it is so thoroughly and repeatedly explained to a creationist exactly why life origins are irrelevant to the theory of evolution that the creationist can safely be called a liar when they continue to act as though life origins is part of the theory. Fester passed that point long ago.
397 posted on 12/05/2005 5:05:02 PM PST by Dimensio (http://angryflower.com/bobsqu.gif <-- required reading before you use your next apostrophe!)
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To: CarolinaGuitarman
It is understood that the universe works by regular, law-like processes.

Sure. And within those processes any combination of matter is possible. It can combine to bring life out of non-life. It can combine in such a manner as to produce evolution in any sense. It is a small stretch to consider that molecules can combine under the same rules to form life apart from sexual intercourse, or wine apart from any process of fermentation as we know it.

If you are so sure that regular, law-like processes are involved with the universe, then it should also be no big stretch to infer intelligent design, because of all things, intelligent desing results in processes that are orderly and law-like.

How do you explain the law-like nature of the universe apart from either intelligence or design?

398 posted on 12/05/2005 5:07:38 PM PST by Fester Chugabrew
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brazen placemarker


399 posted on 12/05/2005 5:09:12 PM PST by longshadow
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To: pby

Thanks. Interesting press release. I can't wait for his research paper to be published. I'd like to see the takes his peers will ... take.


400 posted on 12/05/2005 5:11:48 PM PST by Junior (From now on, I'll stick to science, and leave the hunting alien mutants to the experts!)
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