Why intelligent design fails: Introduction

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I intend to review a book by Young and Edis (editors) called “Why intelligent design fails”.

In thirteen chapters contributors Gert Korthof, David Ussery, Alan Gishlick, Ian Musgrave, Niall Shanks, Istvan Karsai, Gary Hurd, Jeffrey Shallit, Wesley Elsberry, Mark Perakh, Victor Stenger and of course Taner Edis and Matt Young show how the foundations of ID are without much scientific support. As experts in their various fields, these scientists take on various aspects of Intelligent Design claims and methodically take them apart.

This book is the lastest in a line of excellent books in which authors have addressed various aspects of the Intelligent Design movement and have shown how Intelligent Design has failed to live up to its scientific claims.

  • Unintelligent Design by Mark Perakh
  • God, the Devil, and Darwin: A Critique of Intelligent Design Theory by Niall Shanks
  • Creationism’s Trojan Horse: The Wedge of Intelligent Design by Barbara Carroll Forrest
  • Has Science Found God? The Latest Results in the Search for Purpose in the Universe by Victor J. Stenger
  • Darwin and Design: Does Evolution Have a Purpose? by Michael Ruse

Recommendation:

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In these thirteen chapters, various authors address claims of the Intelligent Design movement., each focusing on their own specialties. Passionately but decisively they take on ID and show why it fails to live up to its claims.

In this part I will introduce the chapters, their authors and their backgrounds.

Chapter 1: Grand Themes, Narrow Constituency

Taner Edis (editor)

Assistant Professor of Physics Truman State University, Ph.D. (Physics) December 1994 The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, M.A. (Physics) 1989 The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, B.S. Highest Honors (Computer Engineering) 1987, B.S. Highest Honors (Physics) 1987, Bogaziçi University, Istanbul, Turkey

Chapter 2: Grand designs and facile analogies: exposing Behe’s mousetrap and Dembski’s arrow

Matt Young

Senior Lecturer, Department of Physics, Colorado School of Mines; formerly Physicist, National Institute of Standards and Technology. PhD, Institute of Optics, University of Rochester, 1967

Chapter 3: Common descent: it’s all or nothing

Gert Korthof

National Institute of Public Health and Environment, biologist. Gert maintains a ]Website: Was Darwin Wrong where he reviews many books relevant to evolution and intelligent design.

Chapter 4: Darwin’s transparent box: The biochemical evidence for evolution

Dave Ussery

Associate Professor Microbial Genomics at the Technical University of Denmark, , Ph.D. in Molecular Genetics, M.Sc. in Physical Chemistry, B.A. in Chemistry

Chapter 5: Evolutionary paths to irreducible systems: The Avian flight apparatus

Alan D. Gishlick

NCSE Postdoctoral fellow, Ph.D. in Vertebrate Paleontology from the Department of Geology and Geophysics at Yale University.

Chapter 6: Evolution of the bacterial flagellum

Ian Musgrave

Senior Lecturer at in the Department of Clinical and Experimental Pharmacology at Adelaide University. Author of Evolution of the Bacterial Flagella

Chapter 7: Self-organization and the origin of complexity

Niall Shanks

Department of Philosophy East Tennessee State University Professor of Philosophy Adjunct Professor of Biological Sciences. Adjunct Professor of Physics, Ph.D. (Philosophy). University of Alberta (1981-87). and Istvan Karsai, Assistant Professor, Department of Biological Sciences, at Tennessee State University C. Sc. Academic degree: Kossuth Lajos University, Department of Evolutionary Zoology, Ph.D. degree: József Attila University, Department of Zoology

Chapter 8: The explanatory filter, archaeology and forensics

Gary S Hurd

Saddleback College. Ph.D. from the University of California at Irvine in 1976, and is a Certified Archaeologist for Orange County and the City of Oceanside. Dr. Hurd graduated in 1976 with a Social Science Ph. D. degree from the University of California, Irvine. Following a ten year stint as a medical researcher in Psychiatry, he returned full time to archaeology. Currently, Dr. Hurd teaches anthropology courses at Saddleback College, and is Curator of Anthropology at the Orange County Natural History Association. He has been active in taphonomic research since 1989, and has also consulted with the Orange County Sheriff / Coroner’s Office on bone modification, and evidence recovery related to suspected homicides.

Chapter 9: Playing games with probability: Dembski’s complex specified information

Jeffrey Shallit and Wesley Elsberry

Dr. Jeffrey Shallit is Associate Professor of Computer Science at the University of Waterloo, in Ontario, Canada. He received his Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of California, Berkeley in 1983, under Manuel Blum. He taught at the University of Chicago and Dartmouth College prior to his present position, and has been a visiting professor at the University of Wisconsin and the Universite de Bordeaux, France. His research interests are algorithmic number theory and formal languages. His book with Eric Bach, Algorithmic Number Theory, will be published in 1995 by MIT Press.

Wesley Elsberry: B.S. (Zoology), University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 1982., M.S.C.S. (Computer Science), University of Texas at Arlington, Arlington, TX 1989. Ph.D. student ( Wildlife & Fisheries Sciences), Texas A&M University,

Chapter 10: Chance and necessity – and intelligent design ?

Taner Edis

Assistant Professor of Physics Truman State University

Chapter 11: There is a Free Lunch after all: William Dembski’s wrong answers to irrelevant questions

Mark Perakh

Professor Emeritus Cal State, Professor of Physics (1966); Professor of Materials Science(1973); Associate Prof. of Physics (1962); Associate Professor of Material Science(1953); Assistant Professor (1950). 1967: Diploma of Doctor of Sciences (the top scientific degree in the USSR with no equivalent in the USA), Kazan Institute of Technology, USSR. Topic: Internal Stress in Films and Coatings. 1949: Diploma of Candidate of Sciences in Technical Physics (an exact equivalent of a Ph.D. degree in the USA) from Odessa Polytechnic Institute, Ukraine. 1946: Diploma (with distinction) from Odessa Institute of Technology, Ukraine, with specialization in Technical/Engineering Physics.

Chapter 12: Is the Universe fine-tuned for us

Victor Stenger

Professor Emeritus of Physics and Astronomy, University of Hawaii Adjunct Professor of Philosophy, University of Colorado, President, Colorado Citizens For Science CCFS, Research Fellow, Center for Inquiry CFI, Fellow of the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal CSICOP Vic received a Master of Science degree in Physics from UCLA in 1959 and a Ph. D. in Physics in 1963.

Chapter 13: Is Intelligent Design science?

Mark Perakh and Matt Young

63 Comments

My heartfelt thanks to all the contributors of this volume. –WmAD

Hi Bill, good to hear that you appreciate the hard work by these contributors. I assume that their comments have been largely responsible for you realizing that “No Free Lunch” was lacking the essential details to be useful in any scientific manner? Your recent attempts to formalize some of the concepts is admirable and with the help of your critics I am sure we may be able to get the mathematics right this time but there is a problem that does not seem to go away easily namely the criticisms by critics and even some ID proponents that the explanatory filter is unsuitable for inferring new design (Del Ratzsch, Elsberry and Wilkins and others).

Serious question for Mr. Dembski:

I’ve glanced at the discussions by you, your critics, and your supporters. While I’m not an expert in biology or math, I don’t see any evidence that your ID efforts have contributed anything to the sciences. We all have to decide what’s worth paying attention to, lest we waste our time on unimportant ideas. So I don’t yet see any reason to read your books. But perhaps in the future your ‘program’ will become successful, important, and interesting. I don’t expect it will, but it’s at least a possibility. Could you suggest how I might know when this happens? What condition or event should alert me that your set of ideas now merits attention and study? Since everyone can’t run around analysing every claim, we rely on circumstantial evidence, respected scientific bodies, fellow scientists, etc. to help us sort out the information worth giving attention. What indicator like this will ID achieve?

RE: Steve’s serious question.

It’s a very good question, and I’m wondering the same thing on behalf of school systems being pressured to incorporate “intelligent design”.

My heartfelt thanks to all the contributors to this volume. May you write many more essays and books against intelligent design. –WmAD

I can’t believe how much I’m posting here. Sorry for the repeat, but my IE program didn’t refresh, and so I thought my first post didn’t take. At any rate, keep up the good work y’all. –Bill

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I just got a book named Kicking the Scared Cow, by James P. Hogan out of the library. It’s a collection of heavily spun essays promoting various crank theories over mainstream science, and section one is entitled “Humanistic Religion: The Rush to Embrace Darwinism”. I won’t consider all his attacks on evolution in detail, I’ll bet they’ll be keeping talk origins busy for some time, but at the end of the section he brings up Behe and Dembski. And here he says “The response of the evolutionists to these kinds of revalations has been almost complete silence”. (page 49) Now this list of books you give above puts the lie to this statement; Hogan’s book is copyrighted 2004 so he has no excuse for not considering them. A couple of other statements I have found are equally false, so it disturbs me that this book, which is nicely presented by Simon and Shuster and carries the Dewey Decimal number 500 is going to be a source of falsehood for the public for years to come.

In the centuries past it was difficult to distinguish crank science from real science as most practitioners themselves had no idea of the difference. To play loose with Steve Weinberg (who commented so “pithyly”) Newton was not the first great scientist but the last great alchemist. Maxwell in his own way believed in mysterious forces guiding the phenomena he studied and this was about 120 years ago. But then those days scientific work was the pursuit of the aristocracy and the idle rich. with the emergence of the modern university and a liberal state apparatus we have gradually seen a more efficient and sensible allocation of resources in favor of people who follow the scientific method which Victor Stenger tells us is nothing esoteric but the most natural thing to do. Unfortunately the State continues to use certain fiscal mechanisms that still favor those with lots of money but little objectivity. So charitable contributions can equally help set up a fine institution like the Howard Hughes Institute and a questionable ones that spin out crank theories.

P.Hogan works in a free market. Got to bear. But Hey Jude - don’t feel bad - need a laugh read Hogan

Dick said:

A couple of other statements I have found are equally false, so it disturbs me that this book, which is nicely presented by Simon and Shuster and carries the Dewey Decimal number 500 is going to be a source of falsehood for the public for years to come.

I tend to be proactive when it comes to books like this. When I’m in a bookstore and see one in the Science section (and you’d be shocked at how many there are), I’ll take it and relocate it to the religion section, making sure to keep it in proper alphabetical order. Every once in a while when I’m feeling mean, I’ll stick them in the comedy section.

William Dembski Wrote:

My heartfelt thanks to all the contributors to this volume. May you write many more essays and books against intelligent design.

G’Day Bill (if I may call you Bill). Sorry to be tardy in commenting, but I have just come back from the International Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics 2004 meeting. This meeting exemplifies why your wish that there will be many more essays against intelligent design will not come about. Evolutionary biology is an astoundingly fruitfull research program, not only does it allow us to understand the diversity of life on this planet, it also helps us design new drugs, develop new, effective threrapetic approaches for AIDS, malaria and cancer and allows us to target drugs to those most at need. I’ll be blogging various aspects of this meeting after I get some sleep. In contrast, ID has generated … nothing.

Please do pay attention to “Why Intelligent Design Fails”, it may help you understand why ID is not generating a research program, and is doomed to fade away. At least one thing you should do is actually pay some attention to getting the biology right. As a reviewer of some modest ability for a variety of international journals, I would counsel you to talk to competent biologists before attempting to critique biology. I’m glad you found my commets helpful for you chapter in the “Design of Life”, but a competent assistant would helped you avoid making the embarassing mistakes you made. Of course, you are not a biologist, but such simple mistakes should have been caught before you released it into the world. The new version is marginally better, but still riddled with problems.

Cheers! Ian

In contrast, ID has generated … nothing.

I think Ian is being a little harsh here.

While it’s true ID has proven something of a dry hole with respect to medicine and science, it’s been a real gusher for right-wing politics - at least here in the USA. It’s galvanized armies of fundamentalists to support sympathetic and/or pandering politicians from the school-board to the White House, and opened serious cracks in that pesky wall of church-state separation that liberals are always hiding behind.

Yeah, I think he meant, nothing worth a shit.

Seriously, though, it has generated a large number of humorous things, and laughter is a great thing in life. From grad students telling biology professors they aren’t qualified to discuss evolution, to Kent Hovind’s PhD thesis in which Hitler is conflated with Shintoism, to nitwits who allege that thousands of scientists, professors, dozens of Nobel Laureates, and hundreds of journal editors, in dozens of countries, have been peer-pressured into supporting science which is untrue, has no real practical use, and is also a religion, btw.

That’s good stuff.

I still can’t believe you are so quick to offer harsh criticism of ID and specifically of Dr. Dembski (August 10, in case you’ve forgotten), and yet you have never even actually read any of Dembski’s books, steve.

That does not make sense to me.

FL

FL: You may have a valid point if 1) Dembski’s work was only accessible online 2) Dembski’s work had not received wide scrutiny and rejection by science. Of course I would agree with you that for a first hand understanding of Dembski’s arguments, his books are important but there are many other online articles in which Dembski makes his arguments and claims. Nor does it take one to read Dembski to realize that ID has so far generated nothing of much scientific relevance or interest.

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Russell Wrote:

In contrast, ID has generated … nothing.

I think Ian is being a little harsh here.

I was talking about science, as ID is alleged by its supporters to be a scientific movement.

As has been pointed out by, among others, Eugenie Scott, Intelligent Design can propose, and has, testable claims - Irreducible Complexity being one. It remains a fact, however, that Intelligent Design’s central claim - that a supernatural Deity is the Designer in question - is not Scientifically testable.

If Intelligent Design is to stand or fall on the strength of IC claims for Bacterial flagella, immune systems, and Blood clotting cascades, I would suggest that it is in free fall as we type.

To be fair, it’s much easier to pursue science when you don’t care what answer you get from nature. The ID folks, to the extent they are willing to put their ideas to experiemental test, have settled in advance on one very specific hypothesis. In effect they have risked all their chips on a sucker bet. You might say that the scientists are betting on the red numbers or the the black numbers while the ID people are betting on 42, but it’s worse than that. The scientists are just betting the ball will land someplace. The ID people are betting on a number that probably isn’t even on the wheel.

Of course I would agree with you that for a first hand understanding of Dembski’s arguments, his books are important but there are many other online articles in which Dembski makes his arguments and claims.

Well, PvM, I would think it would be reasonable for a Dembski critic to go ahead and upgrade to a “first hand understanding of Dembski’s arguments” by reading his books, prior to laying down harsh criticism. It is, as you said, important.

You’ve got an undergrad here who’s referred to Dembski, a double-doctorate, as a “dumbass” in a recent post, (and responds to ID with just about equal harshness in his latest post here) while not even having cracked open any of Dembski’s books. I find it interesting that even with steve posting again today, it was ~you~ PvM, NOT him, who mentioned the possibility of at least reading Dembski’s online articles. Hmm.

I would have at least brought up that possibility if the shoe was on the other foot. “Yeah, I know I’ve never cracked open an evolutionary biology text while criticizing evolution and/or evolutionists, but at least I read the online Talkorigins FAQs! That’s good enough, right guys?”

On top of all that, he wants to gripe about grad students telling bio professors that they’re not qualified to discuss evolution. Sounds like a potential potkettleblack situation. Obviously, some ID critics HAVE read Dembski’s books around here. At least they have modeled the right way to do it: read first, then criticize. At this point, I don’t see any intellectually justifiable way to reverse that order.

In your attempt to defend steve, you suggest that Dembski’s work has received wide scrutiny and rejection by science. I would change that last word from “science” to “evolutionists.”

Not saying that those of you who are scientists are not scientists; just saying that this issue is far, far, far from over in terms of “science”. The debate IS ongoing.

For example, I read Barbara Forrest’s book the other month, the one you recommended above. (How hard is it to go to a library and read somebody’s book and get yo’ stuff firsthand, steve?)

I read how, in her view, Fitelson Stephens and Sober had come up with these killer objections to Dembski, and how Dembski could only come up with suggesting that FSS ‘didn’t get it’ (her phrasing). To read her comments in her book, Dembski could do no better than that. End of discussion; Dembski loses again.

But then I went to Dembski’s book (NFL) to actually see what he said about FSS’s arguments.

And it turns out that Dembski had a LOT more to say, some good specific counter-responses to FSS’s claims that somehow, just somehow, Barbara Forrest either missed or… just… didn’t… want… to… talk… about.

So while it’s natural, I suppose, for you to claim or suggest that “science” has examined and rejected Dembski, the honest reality is that, outside of PT, the great debate is still going on, even between scientists, and the jury is still out, concerning ID and its advocates such as Dembski.

Finally, you also said, “Nor does it take one to read Dembski to realize that ID has so far generated nothing of much scientific relevance or interest.

For something that generates “nothing of much scientific relevance or interest”, I can’t help noticing the ~massive~ reams of paper and bandwidth that you guys (and your favorite authors) continue churning out constantly on this subject and on its various aspects, scientific and otherwise. Hmmm. Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.…

FL

FL: it turns out that Dembski had a LOT more to say, some good specific counter-responses to FSS’s claims that somehow, just somehow, Barbara Forrest either missed or … just … didn’t … want … to … talk … about.

Whoa! There’s a surprise! Dembski doesn’t concede an inch to his critics! Apparently this counter-response is “good” and “specific” in your view. But how come we can’t find a single mathematician to validate Dembski’s work?

Do I have to read the “Left Behind” books to fairly decide I don’t want to read the “Left Behind” books? I don’t think so. (That’s why God designed book reviewers.)

Tell you what: if you can show me one mathematician, not affiliated with the Discovery Institute, who publicly endorses Dembski’s work, I’ll check a copy out of the library.

FL Wrote:

For something that generates “nothing of much scientific relevance or interest”, I can’t help noticing the ~massive~ reams of paper and bandwidth that you guys (and your favorite authors) continue churning out constantly on this subject and on its various aspects, scientific and otherwise. Hmmm. Where there’s smoke, there’s fire . …

Thats because the “science” he is promoting as new and revolutionary is not new or revolutionary and often nothing to do with the topic at hand but rather just junk to impress the mindless masses.

There is no smoke or fire as far as scientific break throughs. There is only Dembski constantly calling the fire dept say there is a huge fire some place and when the firemen get there there is nothing but a painting of what dembski say “Look a HUGE fire” and other people look at it and say “that isn’t a fire.…it is a picture of a boat in the ocean” and have to walk away in disgust.

So Dembski puts out some idea, that is really rehashed from some other work, and labels it as a major break through. His peers then review it and show it for what it is, not relevant or just straight up wrong, then he says that they are not qualified to review his paper even though he sent it to them to review.

As far as the “debate” you talk about .… there is no real debate. “Evolution” is accepted its just the methods it occurs by that is now under review. The only debate is from select religious groups that want to ignore all the facts. It is those same groups that are likely to follow Dembski because he says what they want to hear and talks above most of their heads. Not that he would have to as one of my creationist friends has said to me before “I don’t want to know about it if it would cast doubt on my beliefs”. She openly admits she’d rather hear lies that support her beliefs then facts that cast doubts on them.

It is those same groups that are likely to follow Dembski because he says what they want to hear and talks above most of their heads.

Dead on Wayne. What I’m pondering lately is the idea that he knows that’s all he’s doing. I’m not sure he believes in what he’s doing. I would guess he knows it’s premature to pursue a theoretical program without at least a rudimentary theory. And he must know they don’t have that yet. Well, he might not, because he’s a mathematician, not a scientist. It seems possible he’s acting in bad faith. But for what reason? I think that’s unanswerable, without knowing more about his psychological or theopolitical goals. Alas.

Not that he would have to as one of my creationist friends has said to me before “I don’t want to know about it if it would cast doubt on my beliefs”. She openly admits she’d rather hear lies that support her beliefs then facts that cast doubts on them.

good example of that in a good story on Reed’s site, about Koko. Some Texan interviewers talking to a Koko-related scientist and prefacing “We’re christians here, don’t tell us bout no evilution”

I had an extended comment on Dembski’s NFL response to Fitelson et alia just about ready to post. Then I discovered that a dog knocking the “ESC” key can wipe the text composition area completely clear without a chance of recovery.

So here’s the brief version. Dembski critiques the alternative method Fitelson et alia offer, but ignores the specific criticisms they made of his methods. In two notes, Dembski references Fitelson et alia. One is false claim that Fitelson et alia only offered a likelihood analysis, which ignores all those pesky criticisms of Dembski’s methods – again. The other note essentially concedes the point Fitelson et alia made concerning Dembski’s EF and “sweeping the field clear” of chance hypotheses, then makes the incredibly weak rejoinder that the EF could be fallible just like any other procedure in empirical inquiry. Unfortunately, Dembski’s claim on page 6 of NFL contradicts this construal of the EF as a tentative and fallible procedure.

There’s loads of stuff remaining in Fitelson et alia that Dembski hasn’t yet taken cognizance of, much less offered an effective rebuttal to. Just because Dembski bloviates for six pages at a whack doesn’t render the content a “good specific counter-response”. Did Forrest and Gross miss some stuff? If so, it isn’t attributed in the index of NFL.

FT Wrote:

Well, PvM, I would think it would be reasonable for a Dembski critic to go ahead and upgrade to a “first hand understanding of Dembski’s arguments” by reading his books, prior to laying down harsh criticism. It is, as you said, important.

Important perhaps but hardly a requirement. Dembski’s work can be found in many forms online. Additionally many critiques have been made available detailing the flaws and shortcomings in Dembski’s claims. The lack of much of a responde by Dembski to the most devastating criticisms, combined with his recent admission that the ‘experts had not filled in the gaps in “No Free Lunch”” may help explain why his book has not been well received scientifically. Dembski holds out a promissory note that this will be corrected in a future book of his but so far these books have not served such purpose. It does help Dembski present a mostly apologetic argument for his followers but most of it lacks much of a scientific foundation or is soon found to be wrong, incomplete, vague or a strawman. I am more than willing to discuss the many examples I have run across which support my claims.

FT Wrote:

Finally, you also said, “Nor does it take one to read Dembski to realize that ID has so far generated nothing of much scientific relevance or interest.

For something that generates “nothing of much scientific relevance or interest”, I can’t help noticing the ~massive~ reams of paper and bandwidth that you guys (and your favorite authors) continue churning out constantly on this subject and on its various aspects, scientific and otherwise. Hmmm. Where there’s smoke, there’s fire . …

FT misses the point. Intelligent design supporters all over the country are trying to get ID introduced in some form or another in curricula. Notice how FT does not disagree with my statement about ID not having generated much of scientific interest (such a position would be hard to support given the factual nature of this statement), but rather FT argues that since people stand up to protect science and science teachings against Christian apologetics, there must be something to ID.

Such poor logic is what leads people to take ID seriously, appeal to ignorance, appeal to gaps, appeal to eliminative arguments…

So unless FT can show us some scientific relevant contributions of “intelligent design” it is obvious that he is just grandstanding.

ID not only has been shown to be fundamentally flawed from a scientific and logic perspective but also barren from any scientific contributions. It’s that simple. And it does not require one to read Dembski’s books to come to such a conclusion.

As far as your claims about Barbara Forrest and Dembski, I would encourage you to present an argument with some details rather than some non-specific accusations. At least that would be the way to present your argument (if any). Fitelson and Sober have indeed presented some pretty devastating arguments against Dembski, not in the least the absence of a probabilistic modus tollens. Could you thus present us with the relevant pages allowing us to verify your claims?

FT Wrote:

So while it’s natural, I suppose, for you to claim or suggest that “science” has examined and rejected Dembski, the honest reality is that, outside of PT, the great debate is still going on, even between scientists, and the jury is still out, concerning ID and its advocates such as Dembski.

But there is no evidence of a ‘great debate’ even between scientists considering ID. What should be obvious is that the combination of flawed fundamentals combined with a total lack of scientifically relevant contributions of ID have become its ‘Waterloo’ so to speak.

Hmm. FL, have you read the Fitelson et alia paper? If so, where in NFL is Dembski’s “good specific counter-response” to Fitelson et alia’s critique of the TRACT and DELIM conditions? If not, how would you know whether Demsbki had a “good specific counter-response” other than just taking it as given that anything Dembski said that referenced Fitelson et alia must simply settle the issue?

FT seems to believe that the amount of postings on PT are somehow indicative of the success of Intelligent Design. PT is a forum in which a large number of contributors provide analysis of exciting new fossils, research etc relevant to evolution. In addition PT spends some (significant) time exposing the many fallacies and errors in the ID arguments. Point in case Dembski’s latest paper. Various posters commented on Dembski’s ‘response’ to critics finding flaws in his paper or showing how his paper is mostly re-inventing the wheel.

Showing the flaws in ID hardly means that ID is a scientifically viable idea or that it has contributed to scientific knowledge. There is just no positive hypothesis of ID, there are no non-trivial scientific contributions that follow from Intelligent Design. Scientifically speaking ID is meaningless now that its foundations have been shown to be without much merrit.

Pim, I look at evolutionists discussing ID kind of like civil engineers discussing the Tacoma Narrows Bridge.

Which I also didn’t read a book about.

Steve Reuland Wrote:

Hogan isn’t just an anti-darwinist, he’s also a relativity denier, a global warming denier, a Big Bang denier, an HIV/AIDS denier, and a Velikovskian. In short, he’s never met a pseudoscience he didn’t like.

Hogan wrote approvingly of “Forbidden Archaeology” (modern man 100s of millions of years old), but like the typical Ed Conrad “man as old as coal” talk.origins post, the numbers (ages) are conspicuous by their absence. I didn’t read everything on Hogan’s site, but I found no reference to YEC - no approvals or refutations. Since the YEC timeline is even more at odds with that of FA than evolution’s is, one would expect at least equal time for a refutation of YEC, especially since there’s a pretense of science. But as you say, Hogan never met a pseudoscience he didn’t like. Has any pseudoscientist for that matter? The patterns are interesting - speak approvingly of some pseudosciences but don’t necessarily agree, and avoid the less convenient ones whenever possible. Bottom line: the tent is bigger than we think.

Note also on Hogan’s “evolution” book list is the mandatory reference to Michael Denton’s “Evolution, a Theory in Crisis” (1985) but no sign of “Nature’s Destiny” (1998) where Denton admits common descent.

Frank J. Wrote:

I didn’t read everything on Hogan’s site, but I found no reference to YEC - no approvals or refutations.

He seems to have the characteristic wishy-washy view towards YEC that other ID proponents have. Which is to say, he nominally rejects biblical literalism, but spends all his efforts attacking mainstream evolutionary theory instead.

This passage from here looks fairly typical:

Having said that, I ought to add that I don’t have any problem with Creationism–as I see it properly defined. Scientists and much of the media treat the term as synonymous with “Biblical literalist,” a needlessly narrow sense, seemingly adopted for the sole purpose of setting it up to be attacked. A broader view would see it simply as not ruling out the possibility of some kind of guiding intelligence at work behind the complexities that we see, which is not at all incompatible with creation over an extended time, i.e. evolution.

Note that there’s nothing new about this – it’s a page straight from Philip Johnson, whom Hogan cites approvingly. The game is to accuse “evolutionists” of setting up a false dichotomy, even though it was the creationists who invented that dichotomy to begin with. Simultaneously, you distance yourself from standard creationism, while leaving no positive theory that can be critiqued. Clever, but ultimately vacuous. And like I say, completely unoriginal.

One can see this pattern repeat with Hogan’s other hang-ups – about HIV, relativity, etc. All of his claims are stock criticisms that can be found from the leading pseudoscience purveyors of whatever field, which he accepts without skepticism.

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This page contains a single entry by PvM published on August 13, 2004 7:27 AM.

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