Thursday, July 27, 2006

Intelligent design, an obituary

I first heard of ID not much over a year ago. Early on in my voyage of discovery, I registered at Dembski's blog, Uncommon Descent, and posted a question along the lines of "Could Dr. Dembski give a definition of Intelligent Design for a layman?". I was disappointed to see my comment did not appear and my registration was cancelled, such was my naivety back then.

I found the build up to the Dover trial fascinating, following events on Pandas Thumb. I had email exchanges with Mark Perakh, David Wolpert, Robert Shapiro, K. John Morrow and others (whose courtesy highlighted Dembski's attitude to his many critics) and joined in the elation at the resounding common-sense judgement.

I am convinced ID met its Waterloo with that judgement, and there is no possibility that "Intelligent Design" can ever again be touted as a scientific concept in the real world beyond the fundamentalist ghettos.

Now I am finding it hard to remain excited about the remaining rump of ID proponents, still trotting out the same tired old arguments at ISCID and ARN for example. Behe has retired form the field, there is no-one with any similar credentials willing to argue the ID cause, and the void is filled by engineers, cranks and laymen. UD has even invited Professor Emeritus John A. Davison back to the fold, though goodness knows his many published web comments clearly show he has no love for or meeting of minds with Bill Dembski. The UD meltdown and morphing into undisguised Christian apologetics is a significant indicator of the failure of ID and the wedge strategy.

Someone pointed out that arguing science with ID proponents forces you to sharpen your own thoughts and improve your own scientific knowledge. I almost feel I have gone back to school, with all the new stuff I have learned by following the posts and links of other bloggers. PZ Myers'Pharyngula and Tara Smith's Aetiology, for example, are great places to learn about scientific progress. So I am grateful to ID for re-stimulating my interest in science, which I intend to maintain.

ID is, I believe, utterly discredited as anything other than a failed political strategy, and can be safely ignored. I don't expect to be worrying about ID taking over the World any time soon.

Does anyone think I am being complacent?

20 comments:

JohnADavison said...

That one or more superior intelligences have designed the universe from beginning to end is obvious to any unencumbered mind. Intelligent Design is not a subject for debate. It is a mandate without which nothing in either ontogeny or phylogeny will ever make sense.

"Neither in the one nor in the other is there room for chance."
Leo Berg, Nomogenesis, page 134

"A past evolution is undeniable, a present evolution undemonstrable."
John A. Davison

Chris Hyland said...

It would be a bit better if they could even suggest some ideas for research, considering at one point it was claimed that there was fruitful ID research going on. So far the only thing close I have seen is Behe's Protein Science paper, but Behe was forced to admit under oath that the data did not support his conclusions.

I have the unfortunate suspicion that ID is going to creep on, albiet at a reduced level, as there will forever be creationist mathematicians and engineers.

JohnADavison said...

Chris Hyland or any other Darwinian mystic for that matter.

The biological research going on right now in the world's laboratories all points to a determined universe in which chance has played no role whatsoever.

The Darwnian myth is based on the erroneous assumption that evolution had a tangible exogenous identifiable cause. That cause cannot be found because it never existed. There was no more an external cause for evolution than there is now an external cause for ontogeny. Both were driven entirely from within. Get used to it. Leo Berg did, Pierre Grasse did and so have I.

How do you like them apples?

I love it so!

"A past evolution is undeniable, a present evolution undemonstrable."
John A. Davison

JohnADavison said...

Has Dembski closed down Uncommon Descent? I can't get it to come up.

Chris Hyland said...

It seems to go down occasionally I don't know why.

JohnADavison said...

I am betting he closed down and I am the reason. I closed down John Rennie's ideoblog too when I left 12 unanswered challeneges at SciAm Perspectives. He closed shop and opened a new blog with limited participation.

Am I good or am I good?

I love it so!

Nicholas Trevor said...

Relax John....as always dont jump the gun- wait and see.

Chris Hyland said...

Wouldnt he just delete your posts and nan you?

JohnADavison said...

John Rennie knew better than to ban a published scientist. Some of the other clowns on the internet don't have that much sense, notably your master Esley Welsberry or M.P. Zeyers for example. Dembski couldn't ban me either as the troops asked to have me back once the bully was history. Spravid Dinger has obviously lost it completely. It is too bad but he definitely asked for it.

"Everything is determined... by forces over which we have no control."
Albert Einstein

"A past evolution is undeniable, a present evolution undemonstrable"
John A. Davison

I love it so!

jimk said...

Yes, Alan ID won't slunk away. It is a political fight not a scientific one. (albeit they are trying to make it look like a scientific one) We can't let our guard down. It would be nice to spend time on more fruitful persutes.

Nicholas Trevor said...

I agree. With religion in the mix, the fight will not go away that easy. Definitely not in the current political climate we are in. I think the IDers are getting smarter at digging the gaps, and they are talking more 'scientific' jargon. For the layman, the effect will be if it looks like and duck and walks like one....well, it must be a duck. the only way to counter them is to be better informed, which is not an easy task.

JohnADavison said...

As a creationist myself I can say that anyone who is not a creationist is a damn fool. The problem with the ID "movement" is the fact that it is populated almost entirely by Christian fundamentalists who insist on a personal God.

"The main source of the present-day conflicts between the spheres of religion and science lies in the concept of a personal God."
Albert Einstein

That is even more true now than when Einstein wrote that more than a half century ago.

"All great truths begin as blasphemies."

"A past evolution is undeniable, a present evolution undemonstrable."
John A. Davison

Jeannot said...

So JAD, ID is self-evident?

Ok, that explains why you never bothered to provide any scientific evidence for your theory. :)
Are you going to quote dead scientists like Grassé again?

As a creationist myself I can say that anyone who is not a creationist is a damn fool.
Translate : "anyone who doesn't agree with me is a damn fool".

Gee, that's a lot of people! Did you ever consider the possibility that you are a damn fool among sane people?

Chris Hyland said...

"John Rennie knew better than to ban a published scientist. Some of the other clowns on the internet don't have that much sense, notably your master Esley Welsberry or M.P. Zeyers for example."

Well the last two are published scientists. There are more than a couple in this debate you know.

Nicholas Trevor said...

"UD is.. morphing into undisguised Christian apologetics" Judging from their most recent posts, I have no doubt about this anymore. Actually the mere presence of Salvador "I am 75% YEC" Cordova should be proof enough. Very soon, they will be indistinguishable from AiG.

JohnADavison said...

There are plenty of published scientists on the internet but as near as I can ascertain, I am the only one who has offered a new mechanism for organic evolution. The rest are either atheist Darwinians or Bible-waving Fundamentalists. I wouldn't give a nickel for either variety. The truth lies elsewhere.

"If you tell the truth, you can be certain, sooner or later, to be found out."
Oscar Wilde

"Meine Zeit wird schon kommen!"
Gregor Mendel

JohnADavison said...

By the way, I have just been banned over at udoj.blogspot.com/ where David Springer has joined forces with his mortal enemies in dumping on me. I thought you ought to know.

There is no such thing as bad publicity.

I love it so!

JohnADavison said...

U Dream of Janie has just threatened to expose me to which I answered - Promises, promises. Check it out. It is hilarious.

Chris Hyland said...

"The rest are either atheist Darwinians or Bible-waving Fundamentalists."

Or religious Darwinians.

JohnADavison said...

Darwinism is a religion allright. That is all it has ever been, a matter of faith!