Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Reading the Bible Doesn't Make You Stupid!
The Review of Biblical Literature, affiliated with the Society of Biblical Literature has a review (pdf file) of Intelligent Design: William A. Dembski and Michael Ruse in Dialogue by Christopher Heard of Pepperdine University that demonstrates that Heard can see through the ID sleight of hand. Heard quotes William Denbski:
Many evolutionary biologists seem to think that if you can merely imagine a material force or process that could bring about some biological structure, then it's immediately going to trump intelligent design. But is there actual evidence for the creative power of these material forces? Or is the more compelling evidence on the side of intelligent design? It seems to me that really is where the issue should be.And then Heard evaluates Dembski's claims:
This sounds like a promising beginning, but Dembski does not deliver. He repeatedly claims, but does not demonstrate, that evolutionary biologists rest content with "imagining" evolutionary pathways; he addresses neither the fossil record nor DNA evidence, to name but two sources of data that outline such pathways and provide "actual evidence" for the "material forces" that evolutionary biologists study. Nor does Dembski provide "compelling evidence" in favor of ID. Instead, Dembski tries to set up ID as the preferred fallback position should mainstream biology fail to explain—to Dembski's satisfaction?—the evolutionary pathways leading to selected biological structures. To be blunt, Dembski does not really play fair. He asks, "[I]s it reasonable to argue that because we don't understand how the design of biological systems was implemented that it didn't happen by design at all?" (19). Yet Dembski offers precisely this argument against evolutionary biology: "if we don't understand how a given biological system (like the bacterial flagellum) emerged by evolution, it didn't happen by evolution at all."Dembski's answer to this is:
... Dembski comes off as if he wants ID to be given a pass on the standards to which he holds evolutionary biology. In response to Ruse's question, "What are you ID people actually getting in the biological world that we evolutionists are not?"
I don't think the burden on intelligent design is simply to come up with new experiments, new facts. The important thing is to find new ways to make sense of them. I believe that we are making better sense out of them than the evolutionary biologists. The point of my joke about imagining an evolutionary pathway was that we have not been given any detailed evolutionary pathways.But Heard sees where the trick lies (in all senses of the word):
Dembski's final claim in this quotation is not only false but also somewhat brazen, given his absolute refusal to accept for ID the "burden" of showing detailed design pathways.Which is exactly what Michael Behe did in his testimony at the Dover trial, refusing to give any support for an actual designer or any method the design was implemented but, in return, demanding a level of detail from biologists that IDers have deliberately made it impossible to meet.
So IDeologists have to come up with another excuse.
Via Exploring Our Matrix
I can think of no better way to demonstrate why ID creationists are not participants in science. Scientific discourse demands critical evaluation of all theories, not just the theories we don't like. And of all the theories available, the most important to criticize is your own.
I don't think the burden on intelligent design is simply to come up with new experiments, new facts. The important thing is to find new ways to make sense of them.
He's still peddling his "ID doesn't do explanations" line:
As for your example, I’m not going to take the bait. You’re asking me to play a game: “Provide as much detail in terms of possible causal mechanisms for your ID position as I do for my Darwinian position.” ID is not a mechanistic theory, and it’s not ID’s task to match your pathetic level of detail in telling mechanistic stories.
That's from ISCID's Brainstorms in 2002. ID still hasn't thought up a how/when/where/what explanation. It's above that mundane sort of thing. We don't need no steenkin' explanation!
Now that's not quite true. They have an explanation and a whole book on the supposed how/when/where/what. It's just the explanation that dare not speak its name.