Skip to comments.Darwin’s Defenders Deny Life’s Evident Design
Posted on 10/25/2009 10:42:54 AM PDT by GodGunsGuts
Following on the heels of his last bestseller, The God Delusion, Darwinian biologist and atheist Richard Dawkins has scored another publishing triumph. The No. 5 bestseller in the country, according to the New York Times, is Dawkins’s The Great Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution. You might think his success would give him the courage to face critics of his ideas in open debate. But you would be wrong. As one of the architects of the theory of intelligent design, I have formally challenged Dawkins to debate our contrasting views of evolution before the public, but his representatives have responded in the negative, insisting that he does not debate “creationists.”
Never mind that intelligent design is not creationism. Why does Dr. Dawkins refuse to debate? Maybe because some of the strongest evidence of intelligent design in living beings comes from the study of life’s origin itself, posing in turn an enigma that neither Charles Darwin nor Richard Dawkins ever claimed to be able to solve.
We will celebrate this November the 150th anniversary of the publication of Darwin’s Origin of Species. According to Darwin’s theory, the wholly undirected process of natural selection operating on random variations is fully capable of producing the intricate design-like structures in living systems. Thus Professor Dawkins insists that the appearance of design in organisms is an illusion.
In contrast, the theory of intelligent design holds that there are tell-tale features of living systems and the universe that are best explained by an actual designing intelligence. In my new book Signature in the Cell, I examine a category of evidence for intelligent design that has been with us for over fifty years.
In 1953 when Watson and Crick elucidated the structure of the DNA molecule, they made a startling discovery. The structure of DNA allows it to store information in the form of a four-character digital code. Strings of precisely sequenced chemicals called nucleotide bases store and transmit the assembly instructions--the information--for building the crucial protein molecules and machines the cell needs to survive.
Francis Crick later developed this idea with his famous "sequence hypothesis” according to which the chemical constituents in DNA function like letters in a written language or symbols in a computer code. The DNA molecule has the same property of “sequence specificity” that characterizes codes and language. As Bill Gates has noted, “DNA is like a computer program, but far, far more advanced than any software we've ever created.”
After the early 1960s, further discoveries made clear that the digital information in DNA and RNA is only part of a complex information processing system—an advanced form of nanotechnology that both mirrors and exceeds our own in its complexity, design logic and information storage density.
Where did the digital information in the cell come from? Clearly, the informational features of the cell at least appear designed. And to date no theory of undirected chemical evolution has explained the origin of the digital information needed to build the first living cell. There is simply too much information in the cell to be explained by chance alone. The information in DNA has also been shown to defy explanation by reference to the laws of chemistry. Saying otherwise would be like saying that a newspaper headline might arise as the result of the chemical attraction between ink and paper.
Yet, the scientists arguing for intelligent design do not do so merely because natural processes—chance, laws or the combination of the two—have failed to explain the origin of the information and information processing systems in cells. Instead, they argue for design because we know from experience that systems possessing these features invariably arise from intelligent causes. For example, the information in a newspaper ultimately came from a writer—from a mental, rather than a strictly material, cause. As the pioneering information theorist Henry Quastler observed, "information habitually arises from conscious activity."
Of course, many continue to dismiss intelligent design as nothing but “religion masquerading as science”-- or “creationism,” as Dawkins puts it. But intelligent design is not based upon the Bible. Design is an inference from biological data.
Even so, the theory of intelligent design may provide support for theistic belief. That, of course, is not grounds for dismissing it. To say otherwise confuses the evidence for a theory and its possible implications. Many scientists initially rejected the Big Bang theory because it seemed to challenge the idea of an eternally self-existent universe and pointed to the need for a transcendent cause of matter, space and time. But scientists eventually accepted the theory despite such apparently unpleasant implications because the evidence strongly supported it.
Today a similar metaphysical prejudice confronts the theory of intelligent design. Nevertheless, it too must be evaluated solely on the basis of the evidence -- about which, one might add, a candid public debate is long overdue.
every crevo post adds another 10 days to a freepathon.
Thanks for the ping!
How did reproduction evolve? By extinction after extinction until some microbes got it right? Not likely.
If you or anyone you know in the LA area (Southern California), you might want to check out the following:
Los Angeles Premiere of Intelligent Design Film Moves to USC on Oct. 25th at 7pm
Dakins is pissed as a Kid God did not give him Ice-cream when he asked for it but the Heathen Child Molester on the corner did!
Stephen C. Meyer disingenuously asserts “intelligent design is not creationism.” Of course it is. He’s asserting that God’s intelligence created life. What intelligence does Dr. Mayer think created life? Laptop computers?
Paul A. Dernavich
Simply put, the language used by many of today's prominent Darwin defenders, at least as it appears in the popular press, is inherently self-defeating, as if they had a collective case of cognitive dissonance. They routinely describe non-human processes as if they were actual people. No sooner do they finish arguing that the universe could not possibly have an Intelligent Designer, that they proceed to comment on how the universe is so seemingly intelligently designed. No sooner do they discredit evidence for a grand, cosmic plan, that they reveal their anticipation towards what the next phase of it will be. Let me give you examples.”
The entire piece (not too long) is a good read.
I chose this part because I think it illustrates that all of us believe and recognize many things are intelligently designed, our computers, our blender, our this or that.
But the question I've asked and not received a real answer to is, How do we decide when we look at a even a simple object whether an intelligent agent designed it or not?
ID scienctists say that ID can’t answer that question, unless of course they were to discover the designer. If you asked Meyer who the designer is, he would tell you the God of the Bible, but he would do so for religious reasons. Of course, there are plenty of IDers who would tell you that the designer is a different god, or even entertain that the designers may be ETs. But all of these are outside the scope of the limits ID has placed on itself. Very simply, ID looks for design in nature, and does not go any further than science can take it. And while I find a lot of tremendously useful research (especially as it relates to origins) coming out of the ID science movement, their unwillingness to specify the designer is one of the main reasons I don’t consider myself an IDer.
Evolution, The Hopeful Monster Theory: Put all the parts of a Swiss watch into a dryer and tumble on low until they assemble themselves into a ticking watch.
ID is certainly a theory worth evaluating. In my view,
Darwin’s theory is backed by pure speculation: There isn’t
enough data to place it in realm of scientific fact.
Watched a Richard Dawkins YouTube with my son the other day. How does this guy persuade anyone?
“And while I find a lot of tremendously useful research (especially as it relates to origins) coming out of the ID science movement, their unwillingness to specify the designer is one of the main reasons I dont consider myself an IDer.”
And of course because they would fall about laughing when you tell them that the world c. 6,000 years old.
1)nothing produces everything
2)non-life produces life
3)randomness produces anthropic fine tuning
4)chaos produces information
5)non-consciousness produces consciousness
6)non-reason produces reason
7)atoms, ions, and molecules produces free will
Intelligent design and Global Warming <= two peas in a pod.
That’s strange. The IDers routinely expose the global warming scam on their websites. Indeed, if I’m not mistaken, virtually all the the global warming alarmists masquerading as scientists are Temple of Darwin fanatics.
Well, it is and it isn't.
Likewise it is and it isn't evolution also.
In fact, it is and it isn't just about everything.
As is often said of uselessly vacuous scientific claims, "it isn't even wrong."
On absolutely every point that might lead to a testable implication (or prohibition) Intelligent Design is relentlessly (even, one might say, designedly) noncommittal. IDers refuse to posit any claim about when design events occur[ed], where they occur[ed], or how they occur[ed].
ID consists entirely of "inferring" the putative existence of "design". However it has so far come up with only two bases for this inference: the existence of specified complexity, and/or the existence of irreducible complexity.
However the mathematical model of specified complexity has never been rigorously applied to even one real world case, and SC is so poorly and problematically defined, that it most probably never can be so applied.
The case for irreducible complexity is no better. Irreducibly complex systems do exist, but the basis for inferring ID therefrom depends on the claim that it is IMPOSSIBLE for IC systems to be formed by gradual, stepwise change, or indeed by any naturalistic process. This claim is at best unproven, and at worst demonstrably false.
Thus, at least so far, Intelligent Design is worse than merely wrong. It is vacuously beneath the level of being wrong. It is completely and utterly useless.
Hasn't been my experience.
For instance the "Skeptic" group I used to belong to (The North Texas Skeptics) was, way back in the early 1990's, debunking global warming as energetically as creationism and "psychics".
And from what I understand, it hasn't been published as a mathematical theory, either.
Not really. The Global Warming faithful think they have science on their side just as the ID faithful think they have science of their side. The Global Warming faithful are more sophisticated in their sophistry; however, sophisticated sophistry is still sophistry.
My husband and I were watching a Richard Dawkins video and my two year old said “I don’t like that guy daddy”. Out of the mouths of babes.