Monday, May 18, 2009
Vestigial Minds, Junk Arguments
You don't have to agree with Jerry Coyne's take on "accommodationism" to wonder about this:
To the illuminati, a believer lumbers to the edge of every frontier of knowledge, poised to retire his investigations with "God did it!" contentment. Meanwhile, dead ends caused by their own faith in scientific materialism remain unexamined—the premature designation of "vestigial" organs and "junk" DNA being two examples.
Contrary to modern criticism, the scientist who approaches the world as a product of intelligence, rather than of matter and motion, is less likely to stop short of discovery. Instead of dismissing a feature that, at first glance, appears inert, unnecessary or just plain mystifying, he is more inclined to push the envelope of investigation to unravel its function and purpose.
Now, let's assume for the sake of argument that any organ maintaining any function at all, no matter how different from its apparent progenitors, no longer qualifies as "vestigial" or that evidence that some small percentage of junk DNA has a function demonstrates that it all does. Let's even assume that vestigial organs and junk DNA are actually across-the-board predictions of evolutionary theory, rather than merely empiric discoveries that, along with a myriad of other facts about the world, are well explained by common descent.
The evidence of this inclination on the part of anti-materialist scientists to push the envelope of investigation into the function and purpose of nature would be the inordinate number of such discoveries by Intelligent Design-favoring scientists like those who signed the Dissent from Darwinism list and the associates of the Discovery Institute's Biologic Institute.
Oh, wait a minute! The discovery of minimal functions in some vestigial organs and function in some DNA previously thought to be "junk" has come from the regular scientific community, hasn't it? It seems that supposed inclination hasn't stopped naturalism-assuming scientists from looking for function in nature nor helped creationists to make any new discoveries.
Dang, another beautiful theory killed by an ugly fact.