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?
Basicly yes, but some clarification is needed here. There are not an infinite number of combinations as the structure of the amino acids will only allow so many combinations. Have this finite number of combinations attempt to happen milions and millions and millions all of times all over the earth where the primordal soup existed and bingo, you start having protein molecules. That's called science.
And, the process very obviously is not happening for an "infinite" amount of time because the primordal soup from which we came ceased to exist in that form millions of years ago.
Where did you get in my post that this suggests an explanation for "everything that exists"? That is not science.
The closest analogy I can find to your model is the Genesis creation story. A man is formed from dust in one afternoon. Yes, it's pretty ridiculous. I doubt even God would do it that way.
Speaking as a believer, I think science would be aided in it's advancement by not ignoring the 100% accuracy of the Bible regarding physics.
God states in the Bible that we humans should know he is God because he tells us the ending from the begining. There is recorded in it's pages details of future physical events that will greatly impact not only the earth but the universe.
For instance the sun will grow hotter and scorch the earth and it is the sun's power, not man that will cause global warming on a scale that blisters men with sores.
It also relates the rising seas, roaring tides, the sudden stillness of the sea, it's turning red and watery as a dead man's blood, now the evidence is in, we have the "red tides". We are told that this red tide will kill every living thing in the sea. This red tide has already appeared from Galveston to Italy devastating the fishing industry with each appearance.
We are told that the stars will appear to fall, that the earth will rock to and fro on it's axis like a drunkard.
All these things are coming, it's rediculous for science to disregard the Bible out of hand. Especially given the universe is speeding up rather than slowing down as predicted, the red tides are here, the melting of polar ice, and the contested global warming, the conditions that are causing fish kills on a massive scale are here.
The speed up of the universe could be explained because of the black hole discovered at the center of the Milky Way, or some other reason yet to be discovered. We count on science to ponder the causes of these future events, identify them, and use the same physics used to discover the Big Bang, to verify where we are along our clearly marked path using the Bible as it's template.
I don't think that it's alot to ask of science to stop being one step behind the Bible, blindly following along after the fact instead of in sinc.
If an Intelligent Designer is responsible for things so complex they could not have happened by chance, surely the Intelligent Designer is the most complex of all.
So who designed the Intelligent Designer ?
Ahh gee, I wish I could say I'm sorry.
Should we just let anyone do science or surgery or rocket design? And why wait all those years plodding through high school and college, just to satisfy some smart elitist?
Nah, there a damned good reason that those pursuing such professions are intellectually endowed.
How do they explain "natural law" in the first place? Where do they say it comes from?
Probably many (most? all?) ID proponents are of the personal opinion that an intelligent creator is responsible for all of natural law as well. But that's not part of the official theory of intelligent design, because ID itself doesn't seek to explain the origins of things that can be accounted for by natural law.
Way to go, Miss Pie!
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I'm convinced that Behe and thus ID are nothing but a book selling charlatan hoax. What baffles me are the people who fall hook, line, and sinker for this hoax. On one hand it's understandable that a person who's never studied science could easily be deceived by charlatans (after all they're selling their pseudo science books to someone). But, on the other hand it would seem that people who fall for a charlatan hoax and are interested in understanding evolution would sooner or later get around to reading a real science book. The evidence I see from these threads is that the trolls who keep invading seem to relish digging themselves deeper into the pit of ignorance when it would be so much simpler and more personally rewarding to just read the science books that debunk the pseudoscience. What is it about pig-ignorance that causes otherwise rational people to wallow in it? Common sense tells you that a any new heavily marketed best selling book that starts off telling you that all the other scientists and experts on the planet are wrong is feeding you a line of stinky BS.
Again, I have to say...you guys have strange bedfellows.
What is your definition of legitimate?
If you want science and religion to become one, then Giberson and Templeton are your men. If you want these two to remain separate, then these aren't your men.
Giberson is a professor at Eastern Nazarene College, in Quincy, Mass., and promotes Process Theology and Open Theism. I have read several of his articles, both of his co-authored books ("The Unholy War" and "Origins of a Creation Story"...or something like that...I have them on my bookshelf) and formerly subscribed to Science & Theology.
Several of my friends have had Dr. Giberson for a professor. Wesley would be rolling over in his grave, if he knew what Giberson was teaching at a Nazarene Church University.
Templeton, a billionaire investor, is a universalist who believes that the Bible does not have/hold all of the information about God and that "new spiritual information" will be found via scientific discovery until some point omega is reached. He gives away a lot of money in an effort to encourage and advance "religion" in, and through, science (I think VadeRetro would really like him).
What Templeton and Giberson advance is no form of Biblical Christianity, nor is it the pure form of science that you say evolutionists adhere to...But I am not surprised that those at Darwin Central would gravitate towards these guys.
It is either a case of my enemy's enemy is my friend or...your evolutionary views are philosophical and religous in nature, as well. Which is it?
When, however, the lay public rallies round an idea that is denounced by distinguished but elderly scientists and supports that idea with great fervor and emotion the distinguished but elderly scientists are then, after all, probably right.
-- Isaac Asimov's Corollary to Clarke's First Law
Good parody. Nice paranoid ranting with no justification of the inane rhetoric. You sounded just like a creationist without making it over-the-top and unbelievable.
Doing science takes knowledge and practice. It's no more nor less elitist than playing baseball or being a concert pianist or flying an F-16. Those who haven't walked the walk merely babble the talk. (I would never venture to advise Alex Rodriguez on how to swing a bat nor to advise George Bush how to set the flaps on an F-16.)
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. ... [T]he Foundation does not support the movement known as Intelligent Design as such, as an intellectual position or as a movement.
That's way less that the odds of shuffled deck of cards coming up in their exact order and you can shuffle a deck of cards all day long.
Reagan didn't operate on that principal, he believed that Americans could be talked to, not insulted or talked down to.
But he didn't look to opinion polls to determine policy, which is what you're suggesting we do with science.