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← Intelligent design should not excluded from the study of origins (sic)

Jos Gibbons's Avatar Jump to comment 8 by Jos Gibbons

This article is wrong twice (thrice if one included an omitted verb) before it even starts.

Intelligent design should not excluded [sic] from the study of origins
It excludes itself by not studying anything. Name one piece of original research IDiots have done from which we learned something new, for which we needed an interest in testing or applying design hypotheses.
Complex biological systems have not been explained by neo-Darwinian processes
Yes, they have, always by showing that the little parts have their own functions that gradually come together. Taking into account the fact that things can get new functions as time passes, no genuinely irreducibly complex (i.e. unevolvable) things have ever been found. In fact, we can often correlate our hypotheses of the sequence of intermediates not only with experimental tests of what is better than what, but also real organisms being such intermediates, either in the fossil record or in modern living things, given our knowledge of how they are related. Actual testable predictions are made this way.
Now let's see whether the article itself is any better.
near-complete ignorance of intelligent design
We know your whole argument - some functions work only with all the parts, making design a more viable explanation than selection. We also know how to refute it - by identifying older functions, then doing real science to back it up. (cdk007 has illustrated this with videos on the bombardier beetle, the bacterial flagellum and one or two others, and it's all linked to the original research.) It's YOU who has a (near?) complete ignorance of how natural selection actually works.
It is an all too common error to confuse intelligent design with religious belief. While creationism draws its conclusions primarily from religious sources, intelligent design argues from observations of the natural world.
Name one alternative to design by a God ID embraces. It doesn't embrace the Raelians, so it excludes alien designers. Who else is there? A later complaint about a materialist focus proves you insist on a non-materialist designer, which pretty much has to be God.
And it has a good pedigree. A universe intelligible by design principles was the conclusion of many of the great pioneers of modern science.
(1) Weren't we talking about biology? Now he's switching to cosmology? Creationists, self-identifying or otherwise, frequently jump between sciences.
(2) Pioneers of modern science using the argument from ignorance were simply either too unimaginative or ignorant for the conversation we're having today. A modern graduate student who has studied general relativity knows more about gravity than the theory's inventor, once the greatest expert on the subject, Albert Einstein. Only religions take old opinions seriously without updating with new evidence. Science does not.
the origin of life, the integrated complexity of biological systems and the vast information content of DNA
Those last 2 boil down to the same thing and were both well-explained ages ago by natural selection. Abiogenesis is harder, but anyone whose understanding of it is more detailed than "simple molecules to cells" knows that we have viable explanations for pretty much all the incremental intermediate steps, sometimes so numerous that our problem is knowing what happened historically rather than marrying the topic with the known laws of nature. There is nothing in organisms suggesting it won't work.
the observation everywhere else that such information only arises from intelligence
That's not true. Most complex modern inventions are "designed" not with intelligent people, but by getting a computer simulation to impersonate Darwinian evolution to make a gradually improving population of solutions. They quickly outperform anything humans can develop, just as computers are our superiors in chess. No-one has yet found a challenge such technology cannot master as well as genius, just as no-one can find an unevolvable but real biological adaptation.
There is a tendency in school science to present the evidence for evolution as uniformly convincing and all-encompassing, failing to distinguish between what is directly observable – such as change and adaptation over time through natural selection – and the more hypothetical elements, like the descent of all living things from a common ancestor.
Not being directly observable does not make something less well evidenced, a common misunderstanding of science. Common descent is extremely well supported by the evidence. I will give one brief example to which no critic of evolutionary science has ever even tried to respond. Given three species A,B,C, they come in 3 pairs AB,BC,CA; so, if without loss of generality the most recent example of a most recent common ancestor of some two of them is an ancestor of A and B, either it is also an ancestor of C - in which case the relatedness of the 3 pairs is equal - or not, in which case BC and CA are equally closely related and AB even more so. Thus, given 3 species and the percentage dissimilarity of the DNA for each of the 3 pairs, they'll either be 3 identical values or 2 identical ones with the odd one out being lesser. Several alternatives imaginable on other hypotheses exist, all of which would refute common ancestry, and none of which have ever been observed, while the 2 which fit common ancestry have both been observed many many times.
I believe current government guidance is wrong in denying intelligent design the status of science.
Never mind what you believe; IS it wrong to deny ID that status? Only if it IS science. Is it? It should persuade scientists of that opinion first the same way as everything else - success in peer review. No anti-evolutionary publication post-Darwin of research for peer review has ever even been attempted; these people aren't interested in that game. It is they, not scientists, who are guilty of a conspiracy that keeps anti-evolution ideas out of the scientific consensus. Cold fusion advocates also have nothing to bring to the table in terms of evidence, but they don't claim a conspriiracy is stopping them - they're so much more honest than that.

Tue, 01 Dec 2009 16:59:00 UTC | #418961