Thursday, May 12, 2005

Intelligent Design or Dum-dum stoopid heads?

Short of the abortion controversy, there is no topic guaranteed to generate greater frothing, chest-beating hysteria than EEEvoluuuution. And, since I am an unabashed hit-seeking whore for comments on my posts, I wanted to repost excerpts (mine, mostly) from an actually fairly civil discussion on the subject taking place over at RightWingSparkle. The highlighted comments are those made by the devil-worshipping secularist anti-creationist hate mongers.


Whizzit that any questioning of the validity of evolution automatically becomes an imposition of religious dogma? I think the main reason that this creates such a schism is that in the subconscious of its adherents, Evolution simply HAS to be true, because the ONLY alternative is an exterior, intervening "force" or designer – and that’s just too much to bear. So, rather than explore this option, "we" as the “scientific community” have to quell it out of hand as religionism and "unscientific"; otherwise it threatens our carefully maintained irreligious worldview.

I would suggest, however, that arbitrarily declaring that religion and science are mutually exclusive makes the secular evolutionist ever bit as much of a "flat-earther" as some rabid Reconstructionist who demands religion trump science at every turn. I would suggest also that Evolution is constrained by the same "reproducibility" problem as Intelligent Design (ID). Show me how you can quantifiably reproduce an evolutionary process in a lab environment? Show me how you can observe an evolutionary process at work in the wild? You can't. You make deductions based on observations, perceptions and trace evidence - which is exactly what the Creationists do. Better yet, identify the actual process (electro-chemical, physiological, sub-atomic, whatever) whereby a creature adapts its genetic structure to an external stimulus? Anyone?

Taking the arbitrary position that support of creation or ID makes one, by definition, an unscientific hack is bigoted, prejudicial, and intellectually dishonest.
"The evidence for evolution is overwhelming."
{{coughbullshitcough}} How do we deal with the concept of irreducible complexity? How does an eyeball "evolve" rods and cones, and an interconnected brain that uses them to interpret colors? How does the system for creating DNA out of peptides evolve when it needs DNA to, well, create the system which is responsible for producing amino acids, etc? How does a machine evolve when IT is already a precondition for itself to exist?

How does light know when to be a wave, and when to be a particle?

Time and again, critics have asserted most aggressively that "Intelligent Design is unscientific." No one has yet bothered to explain WHY! They provide no evidence, other than, "Well, everybody knows THAT!" Is it simply inherent in the nature of ID to be unscientific? Or, is it because your own bias and prejudices arbitrarily prevent you from viewing a religious viewpoint as having an scientific validity?

For myself, I do not have a "blind" faith. I find my faith routinely validated by scientific discoveries. And I see a great deal of spurious correlations and unsubstantiated "leaps of faith" in the evolutionary model.

Why can't ID be explored scientifically? Because the analysts who control information flow (and funding) are predisposed to dismiss any cause but random chance; and so this bias prevents an objective look at the evidence. An inherent aversion to even considering the possibility of a creative force as being inherently "unscientific" or blind theology, prevents one from placing evidence in any context but that of evolution. Regardless of whether that is justified or not.
"Lots of things look irreducibly(sic) complex at first, but did evolve gradually - like large cities, market economies and complex ecosystems."
A) Prove it.
B) Cities do not evolve. They are laid out, planned, and constructed. Do the phrases "city planners" or "founding fathers" ring any bells? Which city came into its present form through random chance or natural selection?
C) Market Economies? So where does Alan Greenspan fit in? The Prime lending rate? The stock market? Market economies are managed systems, not random.

It is also certainly arguable that natural selection PREVENTS random aberrations and mutations rather than favoring a broad spectrum of offshoots.
"THERE IS NO VIGOROUS DEBATE ABOUT EVOLUTION IN THE SCIENTIFIC COMMUNITY."
Granted. Not because it is not needed, but because it is not allowed. Secularists point large hairy fingers at those of faith for not being willing to examine or question their own faith, or to consider "other" explanations. Yet, there is even less ecumenicalism within the scientific community when it comes to evolution. Question it, and you become Galileo, and the evolutionist gatekeepers are the Inquisitors. Recant or lose tenure!

In these discussions, people have a tendency to keep restating their premise without actually supporting it. If ID is presented as "not scientific", it is solely because those with influence and positional power refuse to address it as such! They have pre-determined evolution to be the only acceptable ideology, and so, by refusing to allow creation/ID into the marketplace of ideas, they continue to ensure their monopoly of thought.
"You may as well all be saying that the theory of gravity is in doubt"
If it is a theory, it is in doubt, or it would be a law. No one doubts the existence of gravity, but what exactly CAUSES IT? THAT IS STILL OPEN TO DISCUSSION. So is evolution a theory, or a natural law? Is the evidence sooo incontrovertible that we should just sign it, seal it, and walk away?

To close your mind to any other possible explanation because it does not fit into your carefully managed worldview is the epitome of unscientific behavior; it is dogmatic. And religionists are not the only ones guilty of this, I think!

And what about our schools? Is it, then, the conventional wisdom that only those things which fit into a narrow definition of “science” should be discussed/taught at school? There are a great many unscientific things discussed in a modern classroom. Why should the possibility of intelligent design be exempt? Or is it merely that only evolution should be taught as the origin of species, with no consideration for any other explanation, because it is the ONLY possible “scientific” explanation? Tell me again how that is not a worldview? How are we not imposing a worldview on our school children by requiring them to adhere to only one viewpoint, and summarily discard all others?

The point I keep trying to make, but which doesn't seem to stick, is that a true scientist doesn't look just at the evidence for evolution, or the evidence for creation/ID. A scientist looks at The Evidence. There's one big bubbling pool of existential "facts" out there. If The Evidence is ONLY examined in the context of evolution, then by definition, that is the only theory that it will support, because that is the only one being examined! See my meaning? If, however, The Evidence is examined in a truly objective fashion, in order to determine our theories from the evidence and NOT the other way around, then and only then do we have a truly robust investigation and some semblance of intellectual honesty.

Here are some ID/creationism sites which, strangely enough, attempt to use science to support their views.
Answers in Genesis/Ken Ham
Darwin's Black Box/Michael Behe
Mars Hill/Mark Eastman
"Tornado in a Junkyard"/Geoff Metcalf

I guess my position ultimately is that “The Theory of Evolution” in all its glory, continues to be in enough of a crisis that it should not be presented as incontrovertible fact. I don't think ID or Creationism in their various forms should be either! I think it is the height of presumption to think that we have found (or perhaps even can find) The Ultimate Answer. As soon as you do that, you stop looking and learning.

Call it a theory, and treat it AS a theory.

UPDATE:

Blogger Erik Grow adds his well-considered two cents worth to the debate.