Sunday, November 06, 2005

Reason #237 Why I Say Give Intelligent Design A Chance

Click on this photo. It's a close-up view of this guy. Look at the detail. Some dragonflies have two sets of wings, cojoined and working in tandem. This little guy has four separate, separately articluated wings. Look at the connection points. Each wing has a pusher and puller muscle cluster. Wrapped around the body core, in essentially a canister system. Look at the conservation of space, the mutal interdependence.

Now look at this one. Look at the cells. These wings are not membranous, but open. Thousands of tiny, interlaced and interlocking ribs that look for all the world like wicker lawn furniture. Cross bracing and reinforcing struts. Light enough to move quickly, change directions on a dime without the wind resistance of a "fabric" wing, yet creating enough resistance to support flight.

The "spar" of the wing is thickest at the root, nearest the "fuselage", give it strength and rigidity. Then at the tips and trailing edges the stringers and supports are smaller, finer, where more flexibility is needed. I WISH I would have had a video cam to film his flight so I could slow it down and watch in slow motion.

Give this project to a 4th year mechanical engineering student. Challenge him to design a wing this strong and light, enabling the "vehicle" to fly forward, backwards, and hover. Four separately articulated wings. And use biological components. And make it this size.

Go on. I dare you.


The Case of Behe vs. Darwin

An interesting article on the tactics, and dare I say the depths to which the scientific community will go to keep ID out of the public forum.

"Behe does not convince me in the slightest," said Michael Ruse, a Florida State University philosophy professor who wrote "The Evolution-Creation Struggle" and is in the Darwinian camp. "But he's a genial, personable guy, and he comes across as a very serious man. I don't think you can dismiss him as a crank. He is a real scientist."

I see. He's a "real scientist," but he's being very unscientific.

Although most scientists dismiss Behe, they make a big mistake if they try to demonize him, Ruse added: "We tend to think these people favoring intelligent design are all evil people, and they're not. (my emphasis)

So, supporting ID is not just foolish, and scientifically laughable, but just plain Evil?!! {{muaahahaaahahaa!}} Doesn't this sound just a tad like those wacky right-wing fundies preaching fire and brimstone branding any who oppose them as evil? Hmmm.

Plaintiffs hope to prove that adding intelligent design to the curriculum violates the Supreme Court ban on teaching religion in public schools;

Which ban was that, exactly? And how does this jive with public schools teaching Islam?

Behe's doubts grew several years later when he read a review in Science magazine of "Darwin on Trial" by Phillip E. Johnson, a UC Berkeley law professor.Johnson raised similar questions about Darwin's theories. The review "was very dismissive…. They didn't address his arguments, and simply said here's this crazy guy spreading confusion, so keep your students away from him," Behe said.

We call this intellectual gatekeeping. Of course ID will never be allowed to be viewed as scientific, nor evaluated in a "scientific" manner, if those who control access to scientifically "acceptable" venues refuse to allow it. They establish the definitions, and have arbitrarily placed ID in the category of "unscientific." Case closed.

My question is, as always, what are they so afraid of?