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.
No, I am firmly commited to dualism until someone can explain how the thought becomes action. Once the nerves are fired up there is no problem, but how does the thought activate the nerves? Parallelism seems to be another word for dualism.
The more restrictive definition is better. Anybody can run around creating any sort of crazy explanation for anything, from crop circles to the Bermuda Triangle. But mere statement doesn't come with any credibility. Who's to know what's credible? Do we teach crystal therapy in med school because some new-age people think it works? A scientific process is in place in order to separate the wheat from the chaff.
Even long-standing theories have had to be changed over time or partially ignored due to a constant attack from within the scientific community. We've punched holes in Newton's gravity theory, but we did it by offering a testable, falsifiable, predictive scientific theory that better explained the same phenomena.
Thus you can be sure than ideas that went through the scientific vetting process unscathed are at least pretty damned good explanations for what we see around us. The longer the theory's been up, the more credit it has.
The rest, ID included, is chaff.
"At any rate, Intelligent Design is well-qualified to be called a "theory," because it explains the data, which, if it were without design, would be incomprehensible to reason and senses."
But I already told you, MY theory of Unintelligent Design (The universe just *is*) also predicts that matter is organized and acts according to predictable laws. My theory has just as much explanatory power as yours. Why is yours better? What evidence can be put forth to choose between the two?
I use dualism in the sense that they are the fundamental bases of the universe. Your example: matter and spirit (or whatever terms you've chosen).
I think temporality splits the world of spirit. The only duality I recognize(not necessarily antagonistic) is between the temporal (or extensive) and the eternal. Obviously the temporal is not also eternal.
Then you've already had it falsified. The fossil record shows changes, and we have observed population adaptation to the environment through genetic mutation over generations. Things do not remain the same.
Now you could say that natural selection is one of your designed predictable laws, and that everything follows that. However, in doing so you would be admitting that the theory of evolution is valid. Your argument would be faith instead of science, but science would also not be able to disprove it.
free to enumerate those instances where science can take place without the presence of either intelligence, design,
Now you're going off again to attack science in general. Why do you attack that which you so desperately want to be a part of, but can't be? The real definition of "sour grapes."
So if it is "well-qualified," what predictions does ID make?
How is ID falsifiable?
Certainly there is something to be said for agreement in numbers when it comes to science. Doubtless there are cases where observers have been deluded and come up with highly improbable theories. But it seems that when consensus is given as a reason to accept or reject an arugment one might just as soon declare that objective reality is not dependant upon the number of people who accept or reject its claims.
ID and it opposite are two legitimate ways of doing science. Both begin with assumptions about the universe that are beyond proof, but neither is wholly unreasonable. I would posit that 99% of the world's population holds to one or the other of these assumptions, or a combination of the two.
If you can find an individual who seriously espouses spaghetti monster theory, please let me know.
The theory of evolution doesn't vaguely cite "natural causes" in the same way ID vaguely cites "intelligent causes". The theory of evolution presents specific natural causes.
I don't view the finite and the infinite as a basic division of nature, but merely a thought construct. The finite we can handle in our logic. The logic of the infinite seems to involve abstraction, that is, removing all content from the form.
Is this a theory you genuinely espouse, or is it one you fabricated for the sake of argument? If it is the latter, what's your point? Have you somehow demonstrated that the presence of organized matter functioning under predicatable laws cannot be explained by intelligent design?
It makes it non-applicable as science.
You realize there's a term for the claim that science is competent to analyze it's own grounds, or in general is philosophically omni-competent. This is called "scientism". You can endorse this if you wish, but you'll find yourself at odds with virtually all antievolutionists, and most mainstream scientists as well.
Gumlegs, are you laughing yet? I am.
Admittedly it's a beautiful concept, a wonderful faith. I just wish he'd quit trying to call it science and quite bandying around the vernacular "theory" as if he were referring to scientific theory.
What I emphasised was that it would fit any kind of evidence. That's the problem.
You apparently believe some other force is responsible for the presence of organized matter and predicatable laws that govern it. What scientific cause do you propose other than an almighty, intelligent agent?
I don't assume either way
True enough. It's what we disagree on that makes it difficult (and a test of virtue).
As if the theory of intelligent design could not possibly cite a specific intelligent agent! It is actually capable of more specificity than the theory of evolution. It posits a single, almighty, intelligent agent, not vague "forces of nature;" not a concoction of natural selection, random mutations, unguided forces, etc.
It's not a problem at all where the common definition of theory is concerned. Go ahead and cite the definition again, then show me where there are words stating that a theory must be falsifiable or provable, or that there must be evidence available to contradict it.
No, I don't either, especially not before we distinguish among several kinds of infinities. But this pushes us to the long-standing distinction between ens rationis and ens reale
I won't commit the fallacy in any ontological argument which jumps from our concepts to reality. This is the very mistake that scientism and theological dogmatism makes. Their A-is-A chant makes A stands for everything. But epistemology is only one aspect of the universe. Therefore all concepts are adequations.
What's to defend? The sun is hot, and powered by fusion. The nearest galaxies are immensely far away, so that light from them takes hundreds of thousands of years to reach us. Evolution has happened on this planet. I find the evidence for all of these statements to be so compelling that they are facts, as surely as any other fact that I am aware of (barring solipsism). The theory behind them may be debatable, and indeed scientists can be found to debate on the details of all of them, but that doesn't make the facts any more dubious.