Friday, January 20, 2006

Is ID Just a Matter of Time?

Over at the pro-ID blog Telic Thoughts, Krauze has this amusing post suggesting that ID today is in the same place evolution was about a century ago. Evolution had some interesting ideas, but was hardly a well-developed science. The inspiration for the post was an excerpt from Michael Ruse's recent book The Evolution/Creation Struggle, in which Ruse recounted the fits and starts of evolution's early days. Krauze writes:

It wasn’t until the 1930’s, more than 60 years after Darwin had published Origin of the Species, that an actual theory of evolution was proposed, dubbed “the synthetic theory”. The mathematicians Ronald A. Fisher and Sewall Wright did the work necessary to make the effects of natural selection quantifiable, the journal Evolution was founded, and empiricists like Bernard Kettlewell and Ernst Mayr could carry out their field work, studying evolution in the wild.

In Ruse’s terminology, evolution only gradually arose from pseudoscience, through popular science, before finally becoming a professional science in the 1930’s. You could say that evolution evolved. Similarly, intelligent design has passed from being expressed in creationist pamphlets as a flimsy support for apologetics, to being expressed in popular science books. ID critcs often inquire as to why intelligent design still isn’t doing any research, “10 years after Behe published Darwin’s Black Box”. However, they should remember the lesson taught to us by Darwin’s followers: Big ideas take time.

Alas, there are several problems with this analysis.

  • First, while it is true that a well-developed theory for how evolution occurs had to wait for the synthesis of the thirties and forties, the fact remains that Darwin convinced just about everyone that common descent was a reality. The evidence for that proposition only got stronger with discoveries made in the years following publication of The Origin. The overwhelming evidence for common descent gave scientists good reason to believe that their search for a mechanism of evolution would not be in vain. ID can claim nothing similar. Their entire theory, such as it is, rests entirely upon two pillars: irreducible complexity and complex specified information. Both of these ideas are utterly and irretrievably wrong-headed. Nothing the ID folks build upon such a foundation will ever produce anything but poisonous fruit.

  • It is manifestly untrue, however, that there were no proposed theories of evolution prior to the synthesis. Quite the contrary. There were rather a lot of viable theories, such as Lamarckism and mutationism. These theories were viable in those days because so little was known about the nature of inheritance. Significant progress in evolution could not occur until genetics was placed on a more solid foundation.

  • The idea that ID has evolved over the years is nonsense. ID is today what it has always been: A political and legal strategy for uniting various schools of creationism under one banner acceptable to all. Young-Earth creationism was solidly defeated as a legal strategy in the eighties, and ID sprang up, in an act of spontaneous generation, in its wake. ID is making almost precisely the same arguments today as it was making a decade ago. And the few novel items (like Dembski's abuse of the No Free Lunch Theorems), hardly constitute progress).

  • But for all of that, I'd be willing to give ID all the time it wants, if only its propoents were willing to meet me half way. Krauze believes that ID is an infant science that simply requires time to blossom fully? Fine. Let him tell the main proponents of ID to stop writing books with titles like “The Design Revolution.” Tell them they should stop comparing their accomplishments to the work of Galileo, Newton and Einstein. Tell them to stop preaching that evolution is a dying theory, soon to be replaced by their own brand of theistic science. And most of all, tell them to stop pressuring school boards to include their drivel in high school science classrooms.

ID is reviled among knowledgable people because the embarrassing emptiness of its arguments is matched only by the boundless arrogance of its leading proponents. If more time were all they wanted, everyone would be happy to give it to them. But no one who has been following the last ten years of ID activity could possibly believe that scientific progress rates highly on its list of priorities.


At 1:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"embarrassing emptiness of its arguments is matched only by the boundless arrogance of its leading proponents"

Smack Smack Wack!

and the smug certainty and oddly impervious thinking of even its least able promoters. When IDers and creationist start arguing using the bible to "prove" descent and speciation its like a poor chef using a cookbook to convince you how good their food tastes.

"It says here....with these fine dish ever!"

when, of course, their food is inedible.

At 2:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I recommend sending comment #2 (Free turorial) to all the usual ID sights. I believe it works at a couple of different levels...

At 3:01 PM, Blogger Jason said...


For some reason I felt compelled to delete the comment you are referring to!

At 9:47 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Alas, all IDeists will ever be able to do is parrot science, and by extension, reality. Do I detect a bit of proof-envy coming from them?

At 10:28 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Ignorance more fequently begets confidence than does knowledge: it is those who know little, and not those who know much, who so positively assert that this problem will never be solved by science."

Charles Darwin, Introduction, Descent of Man, 1871
(thanks to Carl Sagan for this quote)

If he were around now he would have to say something like "regular or real" science.

At 11:45 AM, Blogger Jay said...

I posted a lengthy response to this same post at Telic Thoughts, as it caught my eye too.

You can read my response here:

At 4:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Responding to Rosenhouse"
by Krauze

At 6:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Krauze and MikeGene should get their stories straight. Big ideas take time. Yet they also like to remind us, teleology as a mode of thinking has been around since Aristotle and Cicero. These were thinkers that predated Newton and the later mechanists that would take over teleological thinking and give us modern-day science. Haven’t we given teleology enough time? Of course not. For the IDist, it is all about entitlement for one _more_ chance to get it right.

Everytime Krauze and MIkeGene bring up the culture war, they lose credibility, not so much because they may have legitimate complaints about the hostility of the Academy towards scientific frauds. but because they have explicitly conditioned their success (scientific or otherwise) on the social dynamics surrounding teleological debates. If history is any testament, Krauze and MikeGene are merely whining, and making pitiful excuses for their obsessive focus on the culture war, rather than their ideas on teleology. Last time I counted, for every post on bashing Dawkins, they have exactly one post that promoted “front-loading” or “teleological evolution.” This is not counting all of the other posts they wasted their energy commenting on, like Mirecki, or Dover. If every scientist had to make sure the world was ready to receive their novel ideas, before doing any work, scientific progress would crawl to a standstill.

This brings us to the funny refrain, where the IDists complains about not being able to identify the sort of evidence that would satisfy the critic. If evidence for ID is so weak that, centuries, nay millenia, later the only defense is that any ID evidence is “subtle”, then I am afraid that there does not exist a person open-minded enough for the IDist. They might do better hoping people like Dembski stop undermining teleology further by coupling it with Genesis. If you believe that the posters at Telic Though are moderate, then you have to believe that their worst enemies are their fellow ID travellers. Attempting to blame the mainstream critics (and Krauze et al. _try_ so hard) for their problems is shameful, and to any reasonable person, can only diminish their credibility.

At 6:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let me offer one more thought. There currently exists a healthy, robust scientific program that already explores what Krauze et al. purport to be exploring: namely, Design-centric aspects of biotic life independently of any notion of a Designer. Yup, it is modern evolutionary theory and its offsprings. Sorry guys, you're a bit too late to this ball game.

At 8:55 AM, Blogger Joe G said...

For the reasoning on why ID is scientific please visit:

Intelligent Reasoning

Here is a burning question- How do the anti-IDists determine the observed design is illusory? (that is as opposed to real)

At 12:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Joe G, your blog only accepts posts with accounts, which I have no intention of signing up for, so I'll post my response to your column here, since it also addresses what you wrote here.

When we look at a watch (as the common ID example goes) we can infer a designer because we can compare it to a "non-designed watch," i.e. a pile of steel and sand (the glass). What do you compare life to? What non-designed life do we have examples of? There's NO WAY to conclude that life must have been designed if we don't have conclusive examples of life that wasn't designed.

In other words you say "look, this is so complex that it's clearly the work of a designer or designers," but how do you know what non-designed life looks like?

Inference requires comparison. Until ID provides us with the control subjects it is useless.

At 12:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Joe G said...
Here is a burning question- How do the anti-IDists determine the observed design is illusory? (that is as opposed to real)

Biologists have no disagreement that life is complex, but changes over time are cumulative and NON-RANDOM. The best "designed" versions by and large survive, and their properties selected on the next step of "designed" complexity.

That things are complex in no way assures that they are anthropomorphically "designed."

It may well be that the ultimate questions are unknowable, but that only gets us to agnosticism, not devine, oops, design intervention.

And finally, the ball is in ID's court to prove devine/design intervention, not science to disprove it. Read the Dover judge's decision, DoverOp.pdf?docID=461

pages 64-90 for a neutral view of the problems with ID as science.

At 2:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

One more thing, Joe G: Your blog has a response to the "if there was a designer why is there so muc poor design" complaint that evolutionists often have against design. You take the easy way out of saying 1) I'd like to see you do better, and 2) no one claims that the designer is perfect.

Well, the fact that I can't do better is completely irrelevant. However, I'd think that a designer who could design millions of creatures and plants COULD do better.

But more importantly, I think you're missing half of what we mean when we say "poorly designed." Yes, we mean things that go wrong easily, but we also mean that there are an awful lot of useless things, such as nipples on men and the "goose-bump" response to the cold. Those things, to use just two examples, make 100% perfect sense in evolution and 0% sense for an intelligent designer. If life was designed why is there so much stuff that does nothing?

Lastly, would you accept the "I'd like to see you do better" and "no one claims it's perfect" answer from an evolutionist? It makes no sense to give an answer that you yourself would not accept if it were given to you.

At 5:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


1973 Supreme Court legalizes abortion

In a historic decision, the U.S. Supreme Court rules in Roe v. Wade that women, as part of their constitutional right to privacy, can terminate a pregnancy during its first two trimesters. Only during the last trimester, when the fetus can survive outside the womb, would states be permitted to regulate abortion of a healthy pregnancy.

The controversial ruling, essentially reversing a century of anti-abortion legislation in the United States, was the result of a call by many American women for control over their own reproductive processes. Although defended by the Supreme Court on several occasions, the legalization of abortion became a divisive and intensely emotional public issue. The debate intensified during the 1980s, and both pro-choice and pro-life organizations strengthened their membership and political influence.

Republican presidents Ronald Reagan and George Bush used their executive authority to legislate abortion clinic guidelines that restricted free practice of the procedure. However, in 1986, and again in 1989 and 1992, the Supreme Court narrowly reaffirmed the decision, and in 1993 President Bill Clinton, a Democrat, overturned his predecessors' anti-abortion legislation within days of taking office. In the 1990s, opponents of abortion rights increasingly turned to violent methods in their campaign to make abortion illegal again.

At 7:02 PM, Blogger Will said...

Joe G.

I commented on your blog but haven't seen my comments appear yet. Are you only allowing pro ID comments? Why?

At 10:08 PM, Blogger Robin said...

They've had 2000 years. How much more time do they think it's going to take?

At 10:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Joe G.

pretty lame blog. same old mystic stuff.

Who designed the designers of Stonehenge?

what kind of question is that? you presume design. The correct question is what kind of hominoid built Stonehenge? Neolithic certainly but foragers or agricultural? did they worship the moon or the sun or both? was it a political and or religious project? what was the average age and height/weight of these people.

You would learn that they were quite evolved and were at the apex of stone using civilizations

At 4:42 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

An intersting new blog which agrees with much that is said here, but with more stress on morals:

At 7:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd be willing to bet Pesos to Tacos that the religious community was not among those who were anxious to discover mechanism(s) for Darwin's descent idea.

I'd also be willing to bet that many scientists wouldn't mind a genuine "revolutionary" scientific hypothesis to make their life more interesting.

But, alas, ID is decidedly not it.

At 11:21 AM, Blogger Ginger Yellow said...

Besides the lack of any actual research to get ID off the ground, the real problem with Krauze's argument is that ID has been around for longer than evolution, and it's still overwhelmingly disfavoured by scientists. As wad of id says, teleology is as old as scientific thought itself, while the actual "design inference" - Paley's watch - has been around since 1802. The IDers have had at least 200 years to do any research whatsoever and they've done bugger all.

At 7:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a really great site. Keep it up! I will be reading regularly from now on.

Some sites you might enjoy browsing... - The Libertarian Defender - The Atheist Resource

Keep up the exemplary work. Cheers mate!

At 11:42 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In response to Joe G.s' demand that critics of poor design do better, I would bet that any competent bridge engineer could design a human spinal column superior to that which we are burdened with.

At 9:53 PM, Blogger PROFESSOR X said...

Evolution: Unscientific and Mythical.

Modern scientists all over the world are now side stepping the origin debate due to the vast discoveries that point to the necessity of an intelligent and caring Creator. The emotional responses from skeptics antagonistic to such evidence are based on a fear of the sense of accountability they experience when just the mention of the word "God" or "Jesus" is brought up. The evidence of God's presence far out weighs evidence for His absence.
Best #1
Best #2

Even after studying the notochords of Amphioxus and sea-squirts these all reproduce after its own kind. DNA is so finely fundamentally structured that a mutations cannot take the credit for beneficial improvements to the viability of the life-form. There are myths about mutations that atheists have used to defend an evolutionary world-view which have been exposed as inaccurate. “Genetic drift proceeds at a clock-like, roughly consistent rate, regardless of exposure to drug treatment. In other words, the rate and type of protein change caused by RNA viruses remained the same whether or not the viruses encountered anti-viral drugs.” There were no “new viral strains (mutations) generated in the midst of drug treatment. Instead, modeling studies show that the drug-resistant strains are already present when drug therapy begins.” Certain viral resistant strains have merely preexisted, that were insensitive to drugs. The Virus Myth

Likewise how could the immune systems of all animals have evolved? Each immune system can recognize bacteria, viruses, and toxins that invade the body. Each system can quickly mobilize just the right type of defenders to search out and destroy these invaders. Each system has a memory and learns from each invasion attempt. If the extensive instructions that direct an animal or plant’s immune system were not already programmed into the organism’s genetic system when it first appeared on the earth, the first of thousands of potential infections would undoubtedly have destroyed the organism. This would have nullified and rare genetic improvements that might have accumulated. In other words, the large amount of genetic information governing the immune system could not have started to accumulate in a slow, evolutionary sense. Obviously, for the organism to have survived, this information must have all been there from the beginning.

That their so called scientific theory that all organisms came from a common ancestor has never been observed, it has never been tested in a lab, nor was it ever confirmed by reproducable testing. They all know that it based on their personal religious/philosophical secular world-view. It is based on faith not on actual facts. There are some in intellegent design camp are armed with scientific facts. They are keeping the science community honest. Many have careers in science and they have made contributions within the science community. Accepting the theory of evolution as a fact is not a requirement for making scientific contributions to various fields of science.

Evolutionsts don't want the average person to know that they base their "science" on unproven conjecture. But now they are acting frantically because their house of cards are now falling down and we can now can see the little men behind the black curtain. They hid behind creditentials before the media then arrogantly declared "so-called" evolutionary discoveries without an observable scientific model for their theory. The Face Off

All physical substances are made up of atoms. An atom is made up of electrons, and a nucleus which contains protons and neutrons. Matter is the collection electrons, protons and neutrons. Between the electrons and the nucleus of the atom there is empty space. If a person removed all the space out of an atom and just calculated the amount of matter (Electrons, protons, and Neutrons) that really makes up one human - the matter in one human could be reduced to one hundred, millionth of a cubit of space. In fact, the condensed matter of entire state population of oklahoma could fit into one cubit inch! That which makes up matter is quite insignificant as compared the Being (Creator) that designed the g-forces that it would take hold it together on purpose, only to create a universe and earth built with the purpose of supporting life. Random chemical reactions don't produce DNA (life), Therefore, world-views based on the evolution of life from one common ancestor(s) or from the molecule to man theory - is false.

Whether a person realizes: the irreducible complexity of all living organism; the mathematical precision discovered in the operation of the universe as opposed to chaos; the programmed symbiotic relationships among organisms and resistance to diseases preprogrammed in the DNA of life-forms; in a world where organic naturally breakdown from complex to simple compounds, we never see life arising out of nonliving matter in the real world; the fact that since natural selection only selects from pre-existing genes it only demonstrates that all life reproduces after its own kind as genesis describes; and many more examples which all points to a thinking God, who has the power to create and sustain. The average person can either ignore the real evidence for a fine-tuned universe and continue the get their science education from science "Fiction" movies, only to ask "what if?" (OR) a person can ask "What is?" by studying all physical and empirical evidence even when it points to a Being as the Uncaused source of the beginning of time, space, and matter.
Best #3

Atheists and evolution-minded scientists have tried to spoon-feed people about their doctrines of "science fiction," but now they are losing credibility as the public becomes more aware of the recent scientific discoveries and its implications. Just click the branch of science you want. Best #4

After a person realizes that God exists, knowing Him and ones approach in relating to Him is another matter.
Best #5

Best #6


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