Utterly Meaningless » Blog Archive » R.I.P. ID

R.I.P. ID

Filed at 1:52 pm under by dcobranchi

When the relatively conservative MSNBC rags on ID, you can pretty much write its obituary. And not a moment too soon.

Evolution was and still is the only scientific theory for life that can explain how we get complexity from simplicity and diversity from uniformity.

ID offers nothing comparable. It begins with complexity — a Supreme Being — and also ends there. The explanations offered by ID are not really explanations at all, scientists say. They’re more like last resorts. And, scientists argue, there is a danger in pretending that ID belongs next to evolution in textbooks.

“It doesn’t add anything to science to introduce the idea that God did it,” Provine told LiveScience. Intelligent design “would become the death of science if it became a part of science.”

Actually, I don’t want ID to rest in peace. I want to drive a stake through its heart, shoot it with silver bullets, and then sink its coffin in the Marianas Trench.

27 Responses to “R.I.P. ID”


Comment by
Bob
September 25th, 2005
at 2:01 am

I’d like to see you in a friendly debate with one of the ID proponents like Michael Behe – not necessarily a live debate, which could be impractical, but maybe some sort of an exchange of ideas and thoughts to really highlight the differences and key issues.

I think that would be an excellent way to really examine the ideas separate from the philosophical POV that you have as well as the individual beliefs that the ID proponents have.

It is possible that life is the result of an intelligent designer, and it is possible that life arose spontaneously. However, science, as defined by ABAT and others does not recognize as science the possibility of non-naturalistic first causes, so as a result, ID is not science.

On the other hand, by limiting the definition of science in this manner, origins science becomes a tautology, asserting that life arose spontaneously because there is no other scientifically allowed explanation.

The NY Times has an interesting obituary about a Yale math professor who just died, and in it, they highlight his disgust for how the scientific establishment operates. I don’t necessarily agree with him, but I also am skeptical when it comes to big science, and any effort to censor or discriminate.


Comment by
Bob
September 25th, 2005
at 2:03 am

To clarify that last sentence… I’m skeptical of the claims that big science makes, and I’m sensitive to any efforts to censor or discriminate based on point of view.


Comment by
Daryl
September 25th, 2005
at 5:49 am

Hate to break this to you but you’re confused on what the debate is about– neo-Darwinism (aka, evolutionary theory) and abiogenesis are two different things. ID argues that life is too complex to have evolved from simpler/older life forms without some outside agent forcing it along. Evolution shows that, so far, the IDers don’t know their asses from a hole in the ground.

And Behe? Gimme a break. He’s about as useless as one can get. He’s claimed that maybe everything since the Big Bang was all random mutation and natural selection. That was supposed to be a defense of ID.

But maybe the Earth is only 6,000 years old and the Intelligent Designer (possibly the FSM?) is having a laugh at our expense. That’s also ID (the sarcastic version).

Sorry, these folks have nothing to offer to the scientific debate. True scientists (as opposed to the creationists at the DI) were right to boycott the show trials in Kansas.

And before we get to the “ID isn’t creationism” BS, read Of Pandas and People, the ID textbook that IDers (including the DI in its “teach the controversy” campaign) have been pushing for the schools. The two terms are used interchangeably.


Comment by
Bob
September 25th, 2005
at 4:44 pm

That’s exactly why I suggested you debate an expert, and lay it out. Or, review one of their debates with “real scientists” which have occurred.

If you want to exclude pre-biotic evolution from the debate, so be it. But, recognize that there are scientists that include that as part of what evolution is. (Jrnl of Molecular Evolution covers this topic)

You could also explore the honesty and motivations of the Discovery Institute, as they assert that:

“Intelligent design theorists argue that some highly-ordered complex features of the natural world—such as the molecular machines in cells or the finely-tuned laws of physics—are best explained as products of an intelligent cause rather than an unguided process. Creationism, on the other hand, is based on religious beliefs and premises.”

It would be a good debate – no one would score points for ad-hominem attacks, and you’d have to carefully define terms so that there was some level setting before hand.

I think you’d be hard pressed to hold your ground against Behe, IMHO.


Comment by
Daryl
September 25th, 2005
at 5:23 pm

Finely tuned universe?! Now there’s a tautology. The universe is finely tuned (i.e., designed) because we’re here. And we’re here because the universe is finely tuned. Almost anthropic.


Comment by
David
September 25th, 2005
at 10:36 pm

MSNBC as the bellwether for anything? And “relatively conservative” to boot!

I’d say you’re engaging in a good bit of wishful thinking there, Daryl.


Comment by
Joanne the Happy HSer
September 26th, 2005
at 3:45 pm

Apparently I’m out of the loop. I thought evolution was evolution, Creation Science was literal Adam/Eve and ID was what I believed (that God created the science that created us and that a literal understanding of the Bible isn’t necessary).


Comment by
Roy W. Wright
September 26th, 2005
at 4:14 pm

I’m still trying to get a firm grip on what Daryl believes.


Comment by
Daryl
September 26th, 2005
at 4:44 pm

He believes that ID doesn’t even have a nodding acquaintance with science. He further believes that the IDers (as represented by the DI) are dishonest about their motivations.

Joannes’ understanding of ID is not what the DI has been pushing. Under the current (as in today’s) defintion, ID is based on the assumption that natural descent (i.e., evolution) cannot have resulted in advanced life forms without some assistance from the “Big G” (or space aliens). Believe it or not, IDers (as represented by the DI) have stated that both are possible.

This kind of disingenuous bullshit is not what I have devoted so many years of my life to.


Comment by
Joanne the Happy HSer
September 26th, 2005
at 5:21 pm

Um, okay. 🙂 You are so transparent when there is an issue you feel strongly about. So, what’s the label or anacronym for my belief?

I believe God create all living things and the Bible is a metaphoric document with spiritual but not necessarily historical truths. I believe Humans were created as distinct beings, and have adapted throughout the millenia. What’s *that* besides quintessential Presbyterian (USA)? 🙂


Comment by
Daryl
September 26th, 2005
at 5:54 pm

Subtle I ain’t.

I believe Humans were created as distinct beings, and have adapted throughout the millenia.

Created how? Adam and Eve type or evolved from earlier primates?

Evolution is compatible with Christianity. You just have to move God’s creation event further back in time. So, to say that God caused the Big Bang and created the universe thst eventually led to us is not inconsistent with science. A scientist couldn’t study it, as it is not a scientific question. But we wouldn’t argue the premise.


Comment by
Daryl
September 26th, 2005
at 6:01 pm

Oh, yeah–

The label for your beliefs are “heathen.” At least that’s what our creationist preacher said yesterday.


Comment by
Roy W. Wright
September 26th, 2005
at 9:03 pm

So you believe that, if some intelligence had a hand in creating us, it had to have happened during/before the Big Bang?

Or do you find it plausible that the selection process was intelligently guided along as it happened, but take issue with the methodology (or lack thereof) of ID-pushers?

Or am I way off? I’m honestly curious.


Comment by
Daryl
September 26th, 2005
at 9:13 pm

A)

Of course, an omnipotent Designer could have done it via B). But the study of that belongs in a seminary, not in a public school science class.


Comment by
Roy W. Wright
September 26th, 2005
at 9:21 pm

Well, I think the whole topic really brings out the absurdity of a public school system in general, but that’s just me and my rabid libertarianism.

But, weird idealogues like the DI aside, couldn’t the possibility of “B” be subject to real scientific investigation?


Comment by
Daryl
September 26th, 2005
at 9:30 pm

How do you study whether some unknown designer sometime, somehow might or might not have done something to give a push to natural selection? Just can’t be done within a scientific framework.

There’s nothing there to test.


Comment by
Roy W. Wright
September 26th, 2005
at 10:40 pm

Wow, Daryl. It was just a question.

I think biology does have a way to go before reaching a level of understanding that would allow a much more definitive answer than we already have to whether the process of evolution has been guided or tampered with on Earth. It seems inevitable, though, that we will understand things well enough someday to make that judgement with some certainty.

I hope you don’t mean it will never be “done within a scientific framework.” Those would hardly be the words of a scientist.


Comment by
Daryl
September 26th, 2005
at 10:53 pm

Actually, I do. That is, unless the very definition of science changes dramatically. As it stands right now, science does not, cannot, concern itself with the metaphysical. So, what God did and didn’t do is just beyond our ken.

It’s not a statement against religion, and I’m intentionally keeping my personal religious beliefs out of this discussion. Science and religion just operate in two separate spheres.


Comment by
Joanne the Happy HSer
September 26th, 2005
at 11:09 pm

Oh, yeah–

The label for your beliefs are “heathen.” At least that’s what our creationist preacher said yesterday.
~~~~~~~~~~~

Ah, yes. It’s been a while since I was called that. Probably the last time I admitted I believe in women preachers or suggested that spanking is not a Biblibical imperative. Of course, it could have been when I said I was looking forward to the new HP movie.

I need my own niche.


Comment by
Bob
September 26th, 2005
at 11:30 pm

There’s a nice debate going on between Ken Miller and Michael Behe. Miller asserts that ID is not science because it is not falsifiable, and then goes on to attempt to falsify Behe’s hypothesis that the bacterial flagellum is irreducibly complex.

Miller’s beliefs are along the lines of Daryl’s – he’s a theistic evolutionist.

I like Richard Sternberg’s description of himself as a process structuralist. (He’s the poor fellow that Eugenie Scott and others tried to kill for publishing an ID friendly paper)

Is Daryl advocating that scientists that support or even tolerate ID related work be treated like Sternberg?

A good middle ground might be to just clue in the poor public school kids in a philosophy class about these various points of view. And, take out all those incorrect and falsified evidences for evolution in the science books. (Haeckel’s embryo’s, fruit fly mutations, peppered moths, ad nauseum…)

The best thing NCSE and others could do is create curricula that are accurate scientifically, and devoid of philosophical assertions. (e.g., evolution being a purposeless and unguided process – how the heck do they know its purposeless? How do you test that?)


Comment by
Daryl
September 26th, 2005
at 11:41 pm

He’s the poor fellow that Eugenie Scott and others tried to kill for publishing an ID friendly paper

Kill?


Comment by
Bob
September 26th, 2005
at 11:52 pm

Hee hee, sorry, just a slight exaggeration…

– I tried to write “put a steak thru his heart” but couldn’t get it to fit. Sigh… “stake”

Anyway, the Behe-Miller debate is overviewed here by Jonathan Witt: evolut...ore807

Jonathan Witt and Amanda Witt are homeschoolers and they also have a personal weblog named Wittinshire that is fantastic.


Comment by
Bob
September 27th, 2005
at 12:40 am

Howard Berg has done some incredible research on the bacterial flagellum – to get a taste for why many scientists accept the design hypothesis, read this: aip.or...rg.htm

Also, visit Berg’s site a Harvard – its incredible what they have done from a resaearch perspective.

I asked Berg how this could have evolved, and his answer was, we don’t know. He is significantly more credible on this topic than Ken Miller.

Anyway, regardless where you stand on this issue, a fascinating read.


Comment by
Daryl
September 27th, 2005
at 6:01 am

to get a taste for why many scientists accept the design hypothesis

That’s what I love about IDers– always willing to tell one more lie. And real scientists have gone a fair ways into discerning the mechanism for the evolution of the flagellam. Irreducible complexity, my ass!

ID is a doomed philosophy, as it is a worship of the God of the Gaps. As science progresses and the Gaps get smaller and smaller, ID will fade away to nothing. So I guess one could argue that ID is reducibly simplistic.


Comment by
David
September 27th, 2005
at 7:49 pm

“to get a taste for why many scientists accept the design hypothesis”

That’s what I love about IDers– always willing to tell one more lie.

And the lie is? Oh wait — I get it! Daryl asserts that if you believe in ID you aren’t a scientist, therefore no scientist believes in ID. Convenient!

ID is a doomed philosophy, as it is a worship of the God of the Gaps. … ID will fade to nothing

One wonders, then, at all the hyperventilating.

As science progresses and the Gaps get smaller and smaller,

No doubt filled with more evolutionary theory. I am inspired by your faith!

But I suppose it would be crossing the line to say you’re worshiping Evolution in the Gaps.


Comment by
Daryl
September 27th, 2005
at 8:05 pm

The lie was “many scientists.” It’s actually a handful of cranks.

The problem is the damage that can be done in the interim.

Filled with science. Almost certainly evolutionary theory. Certainly not ID. And it’s not faith. Merely a commonsense extrapolation. How many gaps have been filled by evolutionary theory since Paley’s watch? Are there fewer now? Is it likely that science will continue to progress?

Like I said– doomed.


Comment by
Bob
September 27th, 2005
at 9:10 pm

I think that scientists have floated some scenarios where the flagellum could have evolved, e.g., co-option, but they are very sketchy and preliminary. DI has posted some very good critiques of those scenarios. Behe also does a good job describing what scientists must do to demonstrate evolution in the lab.

But what I find most convincing is the need for all the intermediate steps to be useful in some regard, otherwise, nature would not retain those capabilities. So, not only do you have to identify the start and end point, you have to demonstrate that all the steps in between had some survival value to be retained, and once you’ve done that you then have to explain how the instructions for assembling the flagella evolved, as well as the molecular machines that direct and support the assembly. I say design is the most credible explanation TODAY, based upon the evidence. But, I’m all for science to pursue other explanations, as long as they provide evidence, not just hand waving. And, when they do provide the evidence, we take the spaghetti monster out of the gap and move on.