History, Evolution, and The Darwin Debate

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Krauss, ID, science and design ‘mechanisms’

March 21st, 2016 · 1 Comment

I have been a critic of darwinism since the 1990’s when I began writing WHEE which induced a critique that was different from that of the ID group (which came into existence after Behe’s book, or before with P. Johnson’s Darwin on Trial), and which I think is superior to all other critiques, but hard to grasp because it doesn’t even discuss the genetic angle. The subject of biology has moved on, and yet stayed in place, with a host of new discoveries, e.g. the whole question of the genome. By any reckoning I should be out of date now, but my position remains, well, I’ll preen feathers here, ‘top dog’ stuff. Cats also evolved, but… (a dog with feathers?) I am not knowledgeable about many advanced topics in evolutionary biology and yet I have found that my basic critique still stands as is, now over twenty years old. That’s the case for the same reason that Lamarck’s two level view of evolution will always be superior to Darwin’s because it has the basic idea, despite seeming almost amateurish now.
And the reverse of this shows up figures like Krauss, very smart physicists, to be woefully confused on the subject, because, all the details of quibbles over advanced topics (like junk dna), the basic understanding of ‘evolution’ is not there. In the meantime the critique of darwinism fell early into the lap of the ID camp, by default, and yet their temptation to go the ‘extra foot’ into claims for ‘Intelligent Design’ has eroded their edge.

Krauss tried to hammer Meyer on the “ID is not science” issue using quotes from a judge based on things said by lawyers in the Dover trial. Krauss tried to dismiss ID by saying that it never makes predictions but Meyer countered effectively by pointing out that ID predicts that most of our genome is functional and claiming that the prediction was confirmed by the ENCODE study.

Read the whole discussion… We need to distinguish ‘design’ as science, from the simpler ‘design inference’ of Dembski, itself dubious to brilliant, but basically cogent.
The question over whether ID makes predictions is hardly the point. It is not science because science can’t handle teleological questions, or the evolution of complex machines. So either science must be redefined or we make biology post-scientific. There is no inherent reason ‘science’ can’t handle teleology or ‘natural’ design, but the issue of the ‘evolution’ of complex machines, to stick to the basic issue, falsifies darwinism. The question of whether ID is science is mostly distraction. We cannot use the term ‘intelligent’ for design unless we can show that nature has a mind and that we can’t do, as yet. So it is an obvious theological Trojan Horse to call ‘design’ ‘intelligent’. We infer ‘design’ as we examine complex biological machines or evolutionary directionality and they look ‘as if’ intelligently designed, but we don’t know how they evolved so the theological innuendo is part of the gambit that got ID in trouble from the start, despite the absence of the later ID thinking in the source critique of Denton. In any case, natural selection is not science, but ID is probably not science, but in any case we cannot prove anything about ID because we can’t produce an explanation of teleology. The question of making teleology science is really ‘back to the wall’, but I have one solitary chestnut in reserve to doubters: there is no logical contradiction to a system that shows ‘causality from the future’, although that, e.g. in electronic systems, is ‘unrealizable’, however logical. We are at least close to the answer, let’s guess.

But it is a close call in any case. Read through WHEE and you will see a design so sophisticated it seems like a theistic argument in disguise. It is not. And the basic hidden confusion of the ID group is their ‘faith’ in the Old Testament as evidence of ‘design in history’ as being evidence of anything. It is not evidence of anything, and is not a tie breaker on the subject of ‘intelligence’ in nature.

Tags: General

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 NK // Mar 23, 2016 at 10:40 am

    The issue is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it is absurdly obvious that the scientific establishment can’t even come up with an adequate definition of these little slivers of time and space that are referred to as an “organism.” On the other hand, the ID folks should be embarrassed to associate these poorly-designed gizmos with their Creator. Both sides indulge in nonsense.

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