Thursday, June 20, 2013
And So It Begins
The one refreshing bit of the book is at the end, where Meyer basically admits that, yes, this really is all about bringing an interventionist God back into science, and thereby reconciling and harmonizing science and religion, and solving the problems of meaning in the culture and belonging in the Universe, or something. How exactly this could ever work, even if Meyer's argument's succeeded, is not explained. Meyer completely and explicitly punts on the question of providing any sorts of answers on what exactly is supposed to have happened at the Cambrian or anywhere else in geological history, on the ID view. All we get is ID did something, somewhere, somehow, for some reason, never mind extinction, the millions of years of twiddling around with arthropods, the billions of years of twiddling around with bacteria, the endless examples of apparent evidence for evolution, etc. If Meyer takes his own arguments at all seriously, he is invoking divine intervention not just for the origin of life and the Cambrian, for basically every new gene, ORFan, any adaptation of any significance, and some ill-specified level of morphological difference.Even if I comment on other reviews of Darwin's Doubt, I'll add links here as a hopefully handy repository.
Here's PZ Myearshertz' preliminary review, "It's summer head-asplodey time!"
Well, obviously -- I mean, only intelligence can create new information!
The intelligent designer, whether it be God or not, would have to be constantly (more or less) 'inserting' new 'information' into the genomes of every single species. I don't see how else it could be done except through the manipulation of quantum-mechanical phenomena.
On the other hand, such a being need not be 'God' -- it could be more like the Demiurge of Plato, the demonic world-creator of Gnosticism, the providential world-spirit of Stoicism, etc. But since those aren't "live options" for us anymore, it really does amount to sneaking God in the back-door, along with plenty of plausible deniability.
And most especially when nobody has any idea what any of the novel concepts ("information", "creation of new information", "intelligence") refer to?
Well, they what they refer to: "information" is something vaguely scientific sounding that they can use to baffle their intended audience; "creation of new information" is "poof"; and "intelligence" is God the poofer.