Friday, April 04, 2003

Crank Alert "According to intelligent design, Darwin's theory fails for essentially the same reason that Hilbert's program failed. Hilbert's program for mechanizing mathematics failed because Gödel was able to demonstrate that logical rules of inference could not connect all mathematical truths back to a reasonable set of starting points (that is, a recursive set of axioms). Likewise Darwin's program for mechanizing biological evolution fails because it can be demonstrated that the Darwinian mechanism lacks the capacity to connect biological organisms exhibiting certain types of complex biological structures (for example, irreducibly complex or complex specified structures) to evolutionary precursors lacking those structures." -William Dembski, (posted here ).

William Dembski provides the intellectual heft, such as it is, to the intelligent-design movement. Alas, the alleged demonstration of Darwinism's inadequacies exists only in his imagination. Note also the gratuitous reference to Godel, whose work has absolutely no relevance to the point Dembski wants to make. Many of the "irreducibly complex" or "complex specified" structures he has in mind have been explained by scientists working in the field. (Incidentally, Dembski's fancy-sounding terminology exists nowhere outside of ID writing. The use of non-standard terminology is often another giveaway that you are reading the work of a crank). Such explanations are met by a lot of indignant head-shaking and arm-folding on the part of ID ignorance peddlers. They are no less true for that.


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