Skip to comments.Future of Conservatism: Darwin or Design? [Human Events goes with ID]
Posted on 12/12/2005 8:01:43 AM PST by PatrickHenry
Occasionally a social issue becomes so ubiquitous that almost everyone wants to talk about it -- even well-meaning but uninformed pundits. For example, Charles Krauthammer preaches that religious conservatives should stop being so darn, well, religious, and should accept his whitewashed version of religion-friendly Darwinism.1 George Will prophesies that disagreements over Darwin could destroy the future of conservatism.2 Both agree that intelligent design is not science.
It is not evident that either of these critics has read much by the design theorists they rebuke. They appear to have gotten most of their information about intelligent design from other critics of the theory, scholars bent on not only distorting the main arguments of intelligent design but also sometimes seeking to deny the academic freedom of design theorists.
In 2001, Iowa State University astronomer Guillermo Gonzalez’s research on galactic habitable zones appeared on the cover of Scientific American. Dr. Gonzalez’s research demonstrates that our universe, galaxy, and solar system were intelligently designed for advanced life. Although Gonzalez does not teach intelligent design in his classes, he nevertheless believes that “[t]he methods [of intelligent design] are scientific, and they don't start with a religious assumption.” But a faculty adviser to the campus atheist club circulated a petition condemning Gonzalez’s scientific views as merely “religious faith.” Attacks such as these should be familiar to the conservative minorities on many university campuses; however, the response to intelligent design has shifted from mere private intolerance to public witch hunts. Gonzalez is up for tenure next year and clearly is being targeted because of his scientific views.
The University of Idaho, in Moscow, Idaho, is home to Scott Minnich, a soft-spoken microbiologist who runs a lab studying the bacterial flagellum, a microscopic rotary engine that he and other scientists believe was intelligently designed -- see "What Is Intelligent Design.") Earlier this year Dr. Minnich testified in favor of intelligent design at the Kitzmiller v. Dover trial over the teaching of intelligent design. Apparently threatened by Dr. Minnich’s views, the university president, Tim White, issued an edict proclaiming that “teaching of views that differ from evolution ... is inappropriate in our life, earth, and physical science courses or curricula.” As Gonzaga University law professor David DeWolf asked in an editorial, “Which Moscow is this?” It’s the Moscow where Minnich’s career advancement is in now jeopardized because of his scientific views.
Scientists like Gonzalez and Minnich deserve not only to be understood, but also their cause should be defended. Conservative champions of intellectual freedom should be horrified by the witch hunts of academics seeking to limit academic freedom to investigate or objectively teach intelligent design. Krauthammer’s and Will’s attacks only add fuel to the fire.
By calling evolution “brilliant,” “elegant,” and “divine,” Krauthammer’s defense of Darwin is grounded in emotional arguments and the mirage that a Neo-Darwinism that is thoroughly friendly towards Western theism. While there is no denying the possibility of belief in God and Darwinism, the descriptions of evolution offered by top Darwinists differ greatly from Krauthammer’s sanitized version. For example, Oxford zoologist Richard Dawkins explains that “Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist.” In addition, Krauthammer’s understanding is in direct opposition to the portrayal of evolution in biology textbooks. Says Douglas Futuyma in the textbook Evolutionary Biology:
“By coupling undirected, purposeless variation to the blind, uncaring process of natural selection, Darwin made theological or spiritual explanations of the life processes superfluous.”3
“Evolution in a pure Darwinian world has no goal or purpose: the exclusive driving force is random mutations sorted out by natural selection from one generation to the next. … However elevated in power over the rest of life, however exalted in self-image, we were descended from animals by the same blind force that created those animals. …”5
Mr. Luskin is an attorney and published scientist working with the Discovery Institute in Seattle, Wash.
"Oh, is it? Can you prove that no pig is able to fly? I don't think so. You'd need to thorougly test every pig in the world.
To *falsify* 'Pigs can't fly' all you would need to do is show one pig fly. To *prove* pigs can't fly you would have to test a statistically significant number of pigs.
They would no longer be pigs. Just consider for a moment how many changes would be necessary.
A good theory explains the data. When organized matter is found to behave in accord with predicatable laws, then it is reasonable to attribute this to intelligent design. What is intelligent design but taking matter and then organizing it to behave according to predictable laws?
Testable predictions are largely the practice of emprical science, when, on a smaller scale, hypotheses are formed and tested. You are mistaking "theory" for hypotheses. "Theory" is merely a general way of explaining the available data, so intelligent design makes for a very good theory.
Are you saying it is not possible for science to test for the presence of organized matter that behaves according to predictable laws? Perhaps the theory of intelligent design is so self-evident you have tired of it and yearn for something new. Be my guest. But don't think you've "explained" something any better when you assume and conclude that only "natural" causes can be explored by science. You tell me the testable hypotheses that can explain the presence of organized matter that behaves according to predicatable laws while leaving intelligent design out of the picture.
If my genes have inclined me to develop with a feeling that it's right to protect my family or wrong to kill someone, then how can I discount those feelings in order to become a nihilist without somehow 'ripping out' those genes and every effect they've had on me?
Or, to put it another away, knowing that my sex drive is only an adaptation produced by natural selection doesn't make me want to stop having sex, so why should knowing that my moral 'drive' is (at least partially) derived from the same source make me want to stop being moral?
No. I said, and have been saying, that intelligent design is a respectable theory. I've not introduced the word "hypothesis" except in response to others who have introduced it.
Someone asked what ID as a theory predicts, and I said, "That organized matter behaving according to predicatable laws will be found."
That's the first very good scientific theory I've ever heard of that does not have even one supporting hypothesis or proposed test.
I'll agree that ID is a theory in the vernacular, but not in the scientific.
Is a collection of cooperating unicellulars with no nervous system an organism? Like a fungus, or a jellyfish? How about ants and termites, that are incapable of breeding on their own? Is an ant colony one creature, or many creatures? Shared morphology, chemistry, and DNA structure is devastating evidence of the evolutionary link between unicellulars and multi-cellulars. Science is not required to jump thru some arbitrary hoop some cultist with a burr under his blanket and an obvious ax to grind holds up for it to jump thru before getting along with its business.
For instance, we cannot say that something is random in the system if we do not know what the system "is". A string of numbers extracted from the extension of pi would falsely appear random where they are in fact highly determined.
Likewise, in the case of methodological naturalism, one cannot presume that conclusions drawn from an intentionally narrowed field of view reflect truths about the system, because they never ask nor answer what the system "is".
The blind men and the elephant parable is a metaphor for this phenomenon although in this case, the blindness was not intentional and thus, not as tragic:
A number of disciples went to the Buddha and said, "Sir, there are living here in Savatthi many wandering hermits and scholars who indulge in constant dispute, some saying that the world is infinite and eternal and others that it is finite and not eternal, some saying that the soul dies with the body and others that it lives on forever, and so forth. What, Sir, would you say concerning them?"
The Buddha answered, "Once upon a time there was a certain raja who called to his servant and said, 'Come, good fellow, go and gather together in one place all the men of Savatthi who were born blind... and show them an elephant.' 'Very good, sire,' replied the servant, and he did as he was told. He said to the blind men assembled there, 'Here is an elephant,' and to one man he presented the head of the elephant, to another its ears, to another a tusk, to another the trunk, the foot, back, tail, and tuft of the tail, saying to each one that that was the elephant.
"When the blind men had felt the elephant, the raja went to each of them and said to each, 'Well, blind man, have you seen the elephant? Tell me, what sort of thing is an elephant?'
"Thereupon the men who were presented with the head answered, 'Sire, an elephant is like a pot.' And the men who had observed the ear replied, 'An elephant is like a winnowing basket.' Those who had been presented with a tusk said it was a ploughshare. Those who knew only the trunk said it was a plough; others said the body was a grainery; the foot, a pillar; the back, a mortar; the tail, a pestle, the tuft of the tail, a brush.
"Then they began to quarrel, shouting, 'Yes it is!' 'No, it is not!' 'An elephant is not that!' 'Yes, it's like that!' and so on, till they came to blows over the matter.
"Brethren, the raja was delighted with the scene.
"Just so are these preachers and scholars holding various views blind and unseeing.... In their ignorance they are by nature quarrelsome, wrangling, and disputatious, each maintaining reality is thus and thus."
Then the Exalted One rendered this meaning by uttering this verse of uplift,
It will qualify as a hypothesis or theory only if and when it suggests research.
This is not something that can be settled by reference to dictionaries. When ID people formulate a hypothesis that can be tested, it will be science.
In what way would you expect science to test for the presence of organized matter that behaves according to predicatable laws?
The presence of organized matter that behaves according to predictable laws is all that science has to research. The last time I checked, when intelligent design is employed, it consists in organizing matter so that it behaves according to predictable laws.
"IOW, you will accept Socialism, the loss of American Soveriegnty and a UN tyranny over an argument that has no affect on your or your family's well being.
No, he'll probably become a Libertarian, which while considerably more conservative than the Republican party, certainly isn't considered part of the "conservative base". Brilliant!
(BTW, the Libertarian party has no problem with either evolution or an over-affinity for religious fundamentalism. It could use a reality check when it comes to foreign policy and the military.)
Hence the phrase, "Give the devil his due, or there'll be hell to pay."
I think we may have unearthed a coverup.
That would not be a very good prediction, because unintelligent design would predict unorganized matter that behaves unpredictably.
"That would not be a very good prediction, because unintelligent design would predict unorganized matter that behaves unpredictably."
But that's what I say it predicts. It's my theory, I get to make up any predictions I want for it. Why do you get to decide what the structure of my theory is? :)
The question is, is the field intentionally narrowed, or do we in fact fail to observe phenomena that show indications of supernatural action? In my case, the answer would be the latter. I've been exposed to all sorts of dubious claims of the supernatural, including people who claimed to have ESP, fortune tellers and prophets who could predict the future, ghostly phenomena, spoon-bending abilities, etc. In every single case the claim turned out to have a natural and generally rather tawdry explanation. At one stage, in fact, I was quite willing to accept supernatural explanations for phenomena.
Methodological naturalism is the stance almost all of us adopt almost all the time these days. We put more confidence in physicians than in faith healers; in meteorologists rather than seers; in radar rather than divination. Our experience is, that as knowledge and understanding of our universe grows, so the domain of the supernatural shrinks.
When ID produces a hypothesis that suggests research, it will qualify as science. Science is an activity, not a list of facts.
People gave ear to an upstart astrologer who strove to show that the earth revolves, not the heavens or the firmament, the sun and the moon . . . This fool wishes to reverse the entire science of astronomy, but sacred Scripture tells us (Joshua 10:13) that Joshua commanded the sun to stand still, and not the earth.
Some think it a distinguished achievement to construct such a crazy thing as that Prussian astronomer who moves the earth and fixes the sun. Verily, wise rulers should tame the unrestraint of men's minds.
Certain men, either from the love of novelty, or to make a display of ingenuity, have concluded that the earth moves . . . Now, it is a want of honesty and decency to assert such notions publicly and the example is pernicious. It is the part of a good mind to accept the truth as revealed by God and to acquiesce in it . . . The earth can be nowhere if not in the centre of the universe.