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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: Axlrose

Well, case closed then. Shut 'er down and retool for the full and final proof of the pentultimate "theory of everything": Intelligent Democrats


441 posted on 12/05/2005 6:09:08 PM PST by Orbiter
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To: Fester Chugabrew
What is the difference between arguing from probabilities and arguing from astonishment?

Predictability.

442 posted on 12/05/2005 6:13:40 PM PST by Rudder
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Darwin dedicated a whole chapter of "On the Origin of Species" to what he called "a crowd of difficulties". For example, "Can we believe that natural selection could produce...an organ so wonderful as the eye". How could organisms that need it survive without it while it was evolving over thousands or millions of years? Most complex organs and organisms must have all of the parts functioning together at once from the beginning. Any gradual acquiring of them would be fatal to their functioning. Further, "can instincts be acquired and modified through natural selection?" Darwin admits the difficulties with evolution that "some of them are so serious that to this day I can hardly reflect on them without being in some degree staggered". Darwin admitted, “Why then is not every geological formation and every stratum full of such intermediate links? Geology assuredly does not reveal any such finely graduated organic chain, and this, perhaps, is the most obvious and gravest objection which can be urged against my theory”. Darwin hoped that enough of these “missing links” would eventually be found to substantiate what he called the “theory of evolution”. Gould says, “Darwin’s argument still persists as the favored escape of most paleontologists from the embarrassment of a record that seems to show so little of evolution directly.” Dawkins adds, “Some very important gaps really are due to imperfections in the fossil record. Very big gaps, too.” Gould admits, “All paleontologists know that the fossil record contains precious little in the way of intermediate forms; transitions between major groups are characteristically abrupt.” We all know this is a waste of time posting these apparent contradictions because readers have made up their minds even though this theory on the origin of species has been decimated.


443 posted on 12/05/2005 6:15:17 PM PST by dotnetfellow
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To: dotnetfellow
"Darwin dedicated a whole chapter of "On the Origin of Species" to what he called "a crowd of difficulties".

And if you were honest you would include the fact that Darwin ANSWERED all these apparent problems right after he mentioned each one.


The rest of your quotes are egregious quote mines. Neither Dawkins nor Gould thought there was any problem with evolution.
444 posted on 12/05/2005 6:27:27 PM PST by CarolinaGuitarman ("There is a grandeur in this view of life...")
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To: Rudder
Or, Vice Versa, right?

No. It is easy to study evolution apart from abiogenesis.

Where does, in historical perspective, abiogenis begin? Before the Big Bang? After? etc.

It seems fairly apparent that this would happen after the big bang, when the elements are present and in such a condition as to facilitate the presence of life. Why do you consider this question to be a serious obstacle to a relationship between evolution and abiogenesis?

That takes us immediately back to the Big Bang.

Wait a minute. The Big Bang is necessarily tied to abiogenesis, but evolution is not? I can appreciate the desire to see science remain strictly within the limits of empirical practice. Most believers in evolution have a difficult time distinguishing between empirical facts and reasonable conjecture. Why is it they are permitted to indulge reasonable conjecture to the hilt and still be considered "scientific", while proponents of ID are not? Why is it "unscientific" to infer intelligence is involved in cases where matter is organized, while it is "scientific" to assert anything but intelligence is involved with the same arrangement of matter?

If organized matter is not the result of intelligent design, then what is it? The opposite? Something in between? Which choice is most reasonable?

445 posted on 12/05/2005 6:28:05 PM PST by Fester Chugabrew
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They wouldn't admit to them, that is correct. They would rather dance around them, but they never could confront them adequately.


446 posted on 12/05/2005 6:28:35 PM PST by dotnetfellow
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To: CarolinaGuitarman
Your Brain on Creationism worthy?

Definitely! We don't have a specimen from that individual. I'll post the results when it's ready.

447 posted on 12/05/2005 6:29:29 PM PST by PatrickHenry (Virtual Ignore for trolls, lunatics, dotards, common scolds, & incurable ignoramuses.)
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Creationist Talking Himself Placemarker
448 posted on 12/05/2005 6:29:45 PM PST by CarolinaGuitarman ("There is a grandeur in this view of life...")
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To: CarolinaGuitarman

Talking to Himself too. :)


449 posted on 12/05/2005 6:30:19 PM PST by CarolinaGuitarman ("There is a grandeur in this view of life...")
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To: Rudder

So how would probability and predictabilty speak to the present universe as either a.) a product of intelligent design or b.) a product of unguided processes?


450 posted on 12/05/2005 6:32:16 PM PST by Fester Chugabrew
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'Hawks interception placepark


451 posted on 12/05/2005 6:34:00 PM PST by dread78645 (Sorry Mr. Franklin, We couldn't keep it.)
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To: CarolinaGuitarman
Added to THIS IS YOUR BRAIN ON CREATIONISM:
NEW post 428 by Fester Chugabrew on 05 Dec 2005. I maintain that science is in and of itself a supernatural occurence.
452 posted on 12/05/2005 6:41:00 PM PST by PatrickHenry (Virtual Ignore for trolls, lunatics, dotards, common scolds, & incurable ignoramuses.)
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To: PatrickHenry

It would be an honor. Look forward to seeing the results. A true delight to get under your skin for a change. All this time I thought I was being ignored. Maybe you could place a fruitcake picture next to my words. Please please please?!!!


453 posted on 12/05/2005 6:42:09 PM PST by Fester Chugabrew
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To: PatrickHenry

Yes!!!!!


454 posted on 12/05/2005 6:44:47 PM PST by Fester Chugabrew
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To: pby
Is it scientifically "productive" to speculate that aliens seeded the Earth with life, via rocket ships? And who determines the benchmark and standard that defines productive? It seems pretty subjective if you ask me.

The rocket ship conjecture is a bit far out for my taste, but panspermia is alive and well as a hypothesis, but panspermia is alive and well.

A productive ide is one that generates research or which suggests research. After 203 years, we are still waiting for ID to generate research.

455 posted on 12/05/2005 6:58:18 PM PST by js1138 (Great is the power of steady misrepresentation.)
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To: donh
I'm pretty sure Behe is not an intentional charlatan,...

I've heard him talk; I would disagree. Shifty eyes, shuffling gait; never look at the audience; etc. Or maybe I read too much into his embarassing presentation.

456 posted on 12/05/2005 7:00:10 PM PST by Doctor Stochastic (Vegetabilisch = chaotisch ist der Charakter der Modernen. - Friedrich Schlegel)
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The arrogant charlatans come from the militant evolutionist camp.


457 posted on 12/05/2005 7:06:10 PM PST by dotnetfellow
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Shifty presentations.

Dawkins.



I find it disappointing that Dawkins wouldn't respond to my later e-mails
trying to get his response to Ms. Brown's claims and indeed his lack of
response says a lot to me about this incident. I also found it
disappointing that Dawkins wouldn't admit that that the incident had occurred.


I owe Ms. Brown an apology for my initial skepticism and I offer it here. I
was unequivocally wrong in my suspicion of her. While we have in general
been on civil terms, I do want her to know that not all evolutionists
disregard truth as many creationists believe. After listening to the audio
tape, her video, I firmly believe records an accurate account of the
Dawkings incident.


I might add that I think Ms. Brown did Dawkins a favor. While Dawkins is
shown staring at the ceiling for 11 seconds on the video, the actual time
on the audio is 19 seconds. She spared Dawkins 8 seconds of embarrassment.


I am sending a copy of this to both Dawkins and to Ms. Brown.




glenn

458 posted on 12/05/2005 7:08:31 PM PST by AndrewC (Darwinian logic -- It is just-so if it is just-so)
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To: DoctorMichael
JMHO: [Krauthammer is] One of the current premiere Conservative thinkers and editorialists in the USA and a member of the FOX opinion team/roundtable almost every night in prime-time.

BTW....................GOOGLE is your friend.

Krauthammer was part of the Carter administration. He was a speechwriter for Walter Mondale and worked on Walter Mondale's bid for the presidency. He worked for The New Republic.

A "premiere Conservative"???...yeah, whatever

Dr. Krauthammer wrote this: "This new attack claims that because there are gaps in evolution, they therefore must be filled by a divine intelligent designer." - Clearly Krauthammer knows next to nothing about intelligent design or his agenda is showing. In Krauthhammer's attacks on ID he makes no scientific challenges.

Here is another angle on Krauthammers positions on ID from William Dembski's blog:

"Krauthammer is living proof that otherwise smart people have fallen hard for the despicable Darwinist strategy of conflating ID and religion. Especially onerous is their unscientific ad hominem assaults based on guilt through association. The fact of the matter is that some 80% of the U.S. population are Christians and another 10% are Jewish and/or Muslim who believe in the God of the old testament but not the messiah of the new testament. When 9 of 10 randomly chosen people believe in the God of Abraham how can anyone find it unusual or suspect when the vast majority of ID proponents happen to be Christians? That’s what happens when the vast majority of potential proponents are Christians. Indeed, what would be unusual and suspect would be to find a vast majority of proponents of any particular science in the U.S. to NOT be mostly Christians. Consider the National Academy of Science where the membership is 71% positive atheists and 12% agnostics leaving only 7% who are deists and theists. It’s highly suspect when that particular group denies any theory of origins involving intelligent agency. The Academy’s unscientific religious bias is glaring. If there’s any smoking gun pointing to a religious agenda (or anti-religious agenda) it’s the anti-ID crowd that’s guilty of it. I prefer to consider just the ideas regardless of the person who holds it - that’s objectivity and it’s one of the most important things for any scientist to strive for in their professional life. Subjectivity causes nothing but problems in science and engineering."

BTW: Google is your friend.

459 posted on 12/05/2005 7:10:31 PM PST by Last Visible Dog
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To: Last Visible Dog
Krauthammer is living proof that otherwise smart people have fallen hard for the despicable Darwinist strategy of conflating ID and religion.

Indeed. I can think of a few other people who have fallen for that despicable Darwinist strategy. Like the members of the Kansas board of education who voted to change the science standards. And the un-elected members of the Dover school board. And Pat Robertson, also. Not to mention quite a few FReepers who go ballastic about "anti-Christian attitutdes" whenever ID is attacked, even when no mention of Christianity is made.
460 posted on 12/05/2005 7:12:56 PM PST by Dimensio (http://angryflower.com/bobsqu.gif <-- required reading before you use your next apostrophe!)
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