Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Can someone give us a definition?

I see that the Discovery Institute have made some comments on this article in Seattle Pi, where Randy Olson explains why he feels that the intelligent design crowd are better communicators than most scientists, though their science is extremely poor.

The Discovery Institute doesn't comment on this, but instead objects to the article's description of the difference between evolutionary theory and intelligent design. The articles writes:

"Evolution includes the ideas that plants and animals can change from one generation to the next and that different species descend from common ancestors. Discovery's intelligent design proponents concede the first kind of evolution but challenge the second. They say some sort of intelligent designer is a more likely explanation for ordered complexity found in nature."

To this, the DI people write:

Not exactly. In fact, the theory of intelligent design doesn't exclude the possibility of common ancestry at all. There are three common, but very different definitions of biological evolution. When speaking with people about the issue it is important to ask them which definition of evolution they are using:
1) Change over time (even billions of years, most leading ID proponents believe the universe is billions of years old)

2) Common ancestry, all forms of life evolved from a single original life form

3) Natural selection acting on random mutation is the primary mechanism by which life forms have evolved.

ID scientists do not have a problem with definition #1. There is some debate over definition #2, but it is not incompatible with ID. Definition #3, commonly referred to as Darwinian Evolution, is a specific part of evolution that ID challenges and is the heart of Darwin’s theory.

What this shows, is the inability for the DI crowd to understand that while Darwinian evolution might only have dealt with Natural Selection as the method for evolution, it is also based upon the principles of 'change over time' and 'common ancestry'. And to understand, that even if this hadn't been the case, the theory of evolution has, dare I say, evolved since the time of Darwin.

Having said that, and it probably needed to be said, I find it interesting that the DI article complains about intelligent design being misrepresented, yet doesn't give us a good clear definition of what the "theory" of intelligent design actually is. That would, of course, have been a refreshing change, since it hasn't, to my knowledge, ever been defined (except in terms of what it isn't).



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Intelligent design (ID) is an argument for the existence of God,[1] stated in secular terms, based on the premise that "certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection.

ID is an attempt to justify religious belief by candy coating the idea of "god" with pseudoscientific mumbo-jumbo. The reason ID has a hard time defining itself is that it has to disguise the definition in a lie, for example deny you're talking about "god" just an "intelligent designer". When you base a scientific theory on a lie, every layer of "evidence" based on that lie become increasingly hard to define clearly, because the underlying premise is untrue. At this point reputable scientists note the obvious error and move on, but zealots ever afraid of losing their arguement entrench themselves and refuse to recognize the obvious failing that is the basis of their theory.

As a side note, I've always found it interesting that even if an "intelligent designer" created life in all it's forms (which I don't believe),thatis not the science. The science is how the "intelligent designer" actually created life in all it's forms.

February 10, 2007 2:58 PM  

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