Skip to comments.Intelligent Design Grounded in Science
Posted on 11/13/2005 6:07:54 AM PST by NYer
CBN.com SEATTLE, Washington - The Dover, Pennsylvania school board is on trial in the state capitol. Their crime? They wanted to tell high school students once a year that evolution is only a theory. They also wanted to mention an alternate theory: Intelligent Design, or ID.
That was too much for some parents. They sued, claiming ID is religious and therefore illegal in school. The judge will decide the case in the next few weeks.
So is ID really just religion in disguise? Do both biology and astronomy support ID? And who are these people promoting ID?
To answer those questions, we went to the Discovery Institute in Seattle, the major proponents of ID.
Dr. Stephen Meyer is the head of Discovery's Center for Science and Culture. He says to ban design theory as mere religion is wrong.
"And in fact,” Meyer said, “it's a science-based argument that may have implications that are favorable to a theistic worldview, but the argument is based on scientific evidence."
But perhaps these ID experts are not really reputable?
Mayer stated, "These are people with serious academic training. They are Ph.D.s from very, not just reputable -- but elite -- institutions. And they are people doing research on the key pressure points in biology and physics, and so their arguments are based on cutting-edge knowledge of developments in science."
So what is the evidence from researchers like biochemist Dr. Michael Behe, a Ph.D. graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and a senior fellow of the Discovery Institute?
He is an expert on a special kind of bacteria called flagella. Inside the bacteria are exquisitely engineered ‘inboard motors’ that spin at an amazing 100,000 revolutions per minute.
Darwin said that such complexity must have developed piece by piece. Behe said that is bunk. All the pieces must be in place at the same time or the motorized tails would never work.
Darwin's gradual theory has no good explanation for that -- ID does.
Behe makes the case for ID in a video called "Unlocking the Mystery of Life." The video’s narrator declares, “A thimbleful of liquid can contain four million single-celled bacteria, each packed with circuits, assembly instructions, and molecular machines..."
"There are little molecular trucks that carry supplies from one end of the cell to the other,” Behe explained. “There are machines that capture the energy from sunlight, and turn it into usable energy."
ID experts say the more you know about biology -- and some of the weird creatures like this island lizard -- the worse it gets for Darwinism.
Consider the workings of the genetic code. That code produces all kinds of molecular machines, plus all the other components of life. ID advocates say that to believe those components are just Darwinian accidents takes a blind faith in the creativity of dumb molecules.
So with growing evidence of ID, isn't Lehigh University proud of this cutting-edge scientist who teaches there—and wrote the 1996 bestseller "Darwin's Black Box?" Hardly.
In August, all the other (22) biology faculty members came out with a political statement on the department's Web site. They stated that "Intelligent design has no basis in science."
But they cited no evidence, and made no references to any scientific research.
Dr. John West, a political scientist at Seattle Pacific University, is senior fellow at Discovery Institute. He says these political responses to scientific issues are getting nasty.
West remarked that "hate speech, speech codes, outright persecution, and discrimination is taking place on our college campuses, in our school districts, against both students and teachers and faculty members."
In fact, universities are evolving into centers for censorship. Five years ago, Baylor University dismissed mathematician Dr. William Dembski from his position, primarily because he headed a center for ID there.
This September, the University of Idaho banned any dissent against evolution from science classes -- a slam on university biologist Dr. Scott Minnich, a noted supporter of ID.
"The school seems to be confusing where it's at,” West said. “Is it in Moscow, Idaho, or the old Moscow, Russia? ...in issuing this edict that…no view differing form evolution can be taught in any science class."
And at Iowa State University, more than 100 faculty members have signed a petition against ID -- an apparent political attempt to intimidate ISU astronomer Dr. Guillermo Gonzalez because he writes about ID.
Gonalez is, in fact, co-author with philosopher Dr. Jay Richards of "The Privileged Planet." Both scholars are also connected with the Discovery Institute.
The book and related video argue that astronomy also shows evidence of design. For instance, the earth has numerous aspects just right for our existence.
Gonzalez explained, "...We find that we need to be at the right location in the galaxy...that we're in the circumstellar habitable zone of our star (correct distance from the sun)...that we're in a planetary system with giant planets that can shield the inner planets from too many comet impacts...that we're orbiting the right kind of star -- it's not too cool and not too hot.”
These are just four of 20 some characteristics of earth that make our planet unique -- right for life, right for discovery by human science.
Richards said, "So you have life and the conditions for discovery happening at the same places. That, to us, suggests that there is something more than a cosmic lottery going on. That sounds like a conspiracy rather than a mere coincidence. So that to me is a tie-breaker in the question."
And there is more -- the finely-tuned underlying rules of the universe-- or physical constants. One of them is gravity. But what if gravity were not constant?
A film clip from Privileged Planet says: "Imagine a machine able to control the strength of each of the physical constants. If you changed even slightly from its current setting, the strength of any of these fundamental forces -- such as gravity -- the impact on life would be catastrophic."
In plain terms, a bit more gravity would mean any creature larger than the size of a pea would be crushed into nothing. And a little less gravity would mean that the Earth would come unglued and fly off into space.
But Darwinism has been maintaining that advanced life is easy to produce all over the universe.
"Almost everything we've learned in the area of astrobiology suggests that, 'Look, this is just not going to happen very often' -- now that might be sort of depressing for script writers for sci-fi movies, but that's where the evidence is taking us," Richards said.
Despite the attacks on ID, Meyer said the design interpretation of the evidence is exposing Darwinism as a theory in crisis:
"I think we're reaching the critical point where Darwinism is going be seen as simply inadequate,” Meyer asserted, “ -- and therefore the question of (intelligent) design is back on the table."
Just as this city of Seattle has all the earmarks of ID, so does nature, except that nature is infinitely more intricate.
"They wanted to tell high school students once a year that evolution is only a theory."
And gravity is only a "theory" too.
How many times does the distinction between a scientific theory and the word "theory" as used in general conversation have to be explained to these idiots.
As for Dover, Behe made a fool of himself, even if (typically) he's spinning it as some kind of victory.
The only thing that "Darwinism" tells us is that the frequency with which genetic traits are expressed is constantly in flux. That, and only that, is the idea behind evolution. And it's a damned good idea, backed by sound science, common sense, and a very good knowledge of the mechanism involved.
Anyone have a list of the discoveries made at the Discovery Institute? I mean besides how to maximize fund-raising.
So we'll be seeing some papers any day now, will we?
I find it great that all these arguments come out about what "theory" really means when we get to discussing that evolution is one. A theory is a presupposition based on ignorance of a matter at hand. If you really knew about the matter in a more concrete way than guess work then it would be a fact.
It reminds me of Clinton and his parsing the word is. These evolutionist are willing to cling to each and every piece of flotsam in the water in order not to believe. God help them, i feel sorry for them, but not sorry enough to let them corrupt the young and curious minds of children who no longer believe it is so because the evolutionists say it is so.
The more they stop answers from coming through anything but their CULT of evolution the more they look like the catholic church demanding that science teach that the world is earth centric, and that everything revolves around the earth in our solar system instead of the sun. They are the new persecutors of those who don't buy the evolution "chic" and popular notions.
It is funny how they are so insistent that the other side not be heard. They know they live and die on the idea of "theory" so they, like clinton, do their thing and promote the idea that a theory is not a theory. Is is not is. HA they make themselves the fool.
The proplem with ID is it may take an above IQ to understand it.
Uh, oh. The official dogma apparently cant compete in the marketplace of ideas. If Darwinism cant stand the scrutiny of scientific inquiry and universities have to resort to censorship to protect it, how long can it survive? Will natural selection eliminate it?
New ideas are always met at first with ridicule;
then with vehement opposition; afterwards, they
are seen to have been obvious.
where there is obvious design, there must be, just as obviously, a designer
. Evolutionist Martin Moe correctly commented that a century of sensational discoveries in the biological sciences has taught us that life arises only from life (1981, 89:36 ). Even the eminent evolutionist George Gaylord Simpson and his colleagues observed that there is no serious doubt that biogenesis is the rule, that life comes only from other life, that a cell, the unit of life, is always and exclusively the product or offspring of another cell (1965, p. 144 ). Yet with almost the same breath, these same teachers and professors tell their students that nonliving chemicals produced living organisms some time in the distant pastthat is, spontaneous generation occurred.
Moe, Martin (1981), Genes on Ice, Science Digest, 89:36,95, December.
Simpson, G.G., C.S. Pittendrigh, and L.H. Tiffany (1965), Life: An Introduction to Biology (New York: Harcourt, Brace, and World).
"So we'll be seeing some papers any day now, will we?"
Not when the peers who review them for publication are doing things like prohibiting all mention of ID.
Videos are always the best way to resolve ideological disputes. Ill put that on my viewing list next to Fahrenheit 9-11
Where is evidence of ID? Stating that current theories of evolution cannot explain a particular phenomenom does not constitute evidence FOR intelligent design. For example, astronomers knew that Newton's theory of gravity could not explain the precession of Mercury's orbit around the sun. This was an argument against Newton, but it was not in favor of anything else. When General Relativity predicted the precessin of Mercury's orbit, it was strong confirmation of that theory's correctness.
Scientific theories are usually incomplete or inaccurate. The fact that we have unexplained phenomonom is what drives science forward to better theories and more complete explanations. This is a key component of the scientific method. However ID makes the claim that no such theory can ever possibly exist and thus we shouldn't bother and should rather rely on an intelligent designer to handle those things that we can't currently explain.
ID is not a new idea, but a very old one. It was used by ancient civilizations to explain why planets zig-zag across the starry heavens - they were Gods you see, and Gods can go hither and yon as they wish; so why bother predicting their movements? You can't. It's not possible. It's too hard. It was the scientists who sought a scientific theory that did not rely on ID that ultimately gave us the theories of Galileo, Newton, and Einstein.
This is true for a tiny fraction of new ideas. Most deserve the ridicule that's heaped upon them at the outset. It's a winnowing process that I wouldn't change, even if I could.
I'm reminded of an ecology professor I once had, who delighted in bullshitting his students to see how far they'd let him go. Once he took the class out into the woods, and cried excitedly, "look at what the Indians have done to these trees!" Neatly placed around the base of each tree was a perfect circle of small stones. He let us students go on theorizing about Indian religious rituals, until at last he could stand it no longer and informed us the truth; namely, that rainwater running down the tree trunks had eroded the soil from the base of the trees, leaving what appeared to be something that could only have been done by intelligent design.
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