Intelligent Design and really intelligent design

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James Pinkerton on the really intelligent designers. "The evolution vs. creation debate will never stop. But that endless wrangle is destined to take some new turns. How so? Because the evolution side of the debate, which is to say, the science... Read More

James Pinkerton on the really intelligent designers. "The evolution vs. creation debate will never stop. But that endless wrangle is destined to take some new turns. How so? Because the evolution side of the debate, which is to say, the science... Read More

Though Pinkerton doesn't name this fallacy, it is clear that he is accusing Behe of offering an argument from ignorance--one of the fallacies most commonly attributed to critics of Darwinian evolution. But is that really Behe's argument? I don't thin... Read More

26 Comments

Kind of interesting to see a clear and forceful attack on ID from a proponent of free market policies. It would be nice to see more friction between “conservatives” (whatever that means) and the right-wing religious sleaze that keep them in power.

There’s no tension whatsoever between free market ideas and the theory of evolution. They’re quite unrelated in their details. There are some conceptual similarities – the idea, for example, that order and complexity need not be designed or planned by a conscious will but can arise in an undirected manner, is a criticism of both ID and central planning. So it shouldn’t be surprising at all that people on both sides of the big-small government divide support both sides of the evolution/creation debate.

I’ve always been surprised at how many will attack central planning, socialism, extole the virtues of the free market, and then poo-poo evolution. The idea that the market has quite a bit in common with evolution just doesn’t seem to register.

Steve Wrote:

I’ve always been surprised at how many will attack central planning, socialism, extole the virtues of the free market, and then poo-poo evolution. The idea that the market has quite a bit in common with evolution just doesn’t seem to register.

That is because central planning, etc. would threaten their economic position, and evolution threatens their theological position.

I really do not believe that these people even contemplate the logical link, they are simply protecting their status.

Good to see they only took quotes from “certified non-leftists” in that article. (rolls eyes) What body does the certification? (grin)

I think asg has it right– the free market and evolution are essentially unrelated. Or rather they are related, but only in the sense that the free market has an intrinisc evolutionary mechanism within it, at least in the loose sense: it is non-teleological and builds off of what came before. But we again have to beware of ideologically teaming evolution with political ideas, less we fall prey tot he naturalistic fallacy.

There’s no tension whatsoever between free market ideas and the theory of evolution. They’re quite unrelated in their details.

I wasn’t implying that the ideas are related in any way. Just that the strongest proponents of free markets and the strongest proponents of anti-evolutionism rely on each other for their political power.

I’m not trashing free market ideas, BTW. In fact it would be nice if the “religious” right wing could thoroughly disgust and alienate the moderate conservatives enough that something sensible could happen in US politics.

It’s always struck me as odd that fundamentalists ally themselves so strongly with the political right since, if you take the bible literally, Jesus was a pretty avid communist.…

Darwin identified a mechanism, natural selection, that has had a range of consequences. He never endorsed natural selection. That would be like comming out in favor of the periodic table or the Pythagorean theorem. People have tried to make Darwinism into an ideology (Social Darwinism), but that’s simply a category mistake.

Markets are also mechanisms, but free marketers are not descriptive scientists explaining how markets work. They are ideologues promoting a particular form of political economy for their own reasons. Whether or not laissez faire is a good idea or not simply cannot be settled by quoting Adam Smith, as Adam Smith, a moral philosopher after all, damned well understood.

Natural selection can and has turned many free living organisms into tiny, blind parasites as well as heroes and saints. Markets can and have resulted in poverty and oppression as well as wealth and equality. Natural selection and markets are neither good nor bad in themselves. They are simply ways that things work, sometimes for good, sometimes for ill, just as a hammer is a tool or a weapon depending on whether you use it to hit the head of a nail or the head of your brother-in-law.

I was an undergraduate biologist sharing a room with a guy studying Politics, Philosophy and Economics.

After a while, I started referring to evolution as “Adam Smith’s Invisible Paw”.

Just that the strongest proponents of free markets and the strongest proponents of anti-evolutionism rely on each other for their political power.

The strongest proponents of free markets don’t have any political power (to my dismay and others’ joy). There’s a debate going on at Hit & Run (the Reason magazine blog) on the merits of throwing in with social conservatives if electing them yields a chance at free market reforms. The consensus appears to be no, it’s not worth it, because social conservatives take cultural issues so much more seriously than they take economic issues, and they won’t hesitate to sell out on the economic ones if it means they can push theocratic social legislation through.

Its a good article, but a slight quibble over the following:

“No serious scientist believes the literal Biblical creation account, but many earnest and well-credentialed scientists do believe in Intelligent Design (ID), as a perspective on evolution.”

“Many” scientists do not believe in intelligent design. A very small number of well-credentialed scientists believe ID and a smaller number of well-credentialed scientists in fields relevant to evolution accept ID.

“Many” scientists do not believe in intelligent design.

I also agree that the author chose his words poorly. The correct terminology is “A growing number of scientists…”

BTW, how long has the number been growing ?

The correct terminology is “a vanishingly small group of otherwise credentialed, but non-practicing scientists” who favor ID.

I imagine its growing at a slower rate than those new scientists who accept evolution.

Jeff’s question reminds me: I found some ID site a few days ago where the author earnestly hoped evolution would die “a death by a thousand pricks.”

There are about 300 people who have signed the DI letter from time to time. They’re looking for 700 more, Jeff. They’ve been looking for about four years.

“Many” scientists do not believe in intelligent design. A very small number of well-credentialed scientists believe ID and a smaller number of well-credentialed scientists in fields relevant to evolution accept ID.

And (1) they all accept it for religious reasons, and (2) none of them can present any scientific theory of ID that can be tested using the scientific method.

It might not hurt to mention, in addition, that nearly all of them are funded by the same single wacko billionnaire, who for over twenty years has been trying to turn the US into a theocracy.

The correct terminology is “A growing number of scientists … “

Hey! The number’s tripled!

To three.

Duke

What I want to know is, what about unintelligent design–inefficient, wasteful, and unnecessarily complicated design, which we see in the world all around us?

Well, since ID is not creationism, this implies that the Designer didn’t actually create anything, only Designed it. We can also be quite confident that the Creators weren’t very intelligent, and did a fairly poor job of implementing these Designs. It seems likely that there are multiple Creators (the Designer’s elves?), and Multiple Designer Theory is a misnomer. The correct name is Single Designer Theory With Multiple Incompetent Assemblers, but this is too clumsy as a slogan.

That’s nearly the plot of this film.

After a while, I started referring to evolution as “Adam Smith’s Invisible Paw”.

LOL! I’ll be stealing that one.

Pinkerton’s not the only conservative writer who’s published something skeptical about ID. William Tucker has a tepidly critical article in The American Enterprise Online, focusing on The Privileged Planet. He also hints at more to come next week. Then of course there’s Reason Mag’s Ronald Bailey.

The vast majority of anti-creationist argumentation from the right seems to be in blogs & message boards like mine. (But even on hard-core conservative FreeRepublic, the crevo threads are well represented by highly intelligent, rational conservatives who eagerly go post-to-post against the creationist spin-doctors.)

As a signed up member of the British Right (well, not quite signed up: I voted Tory and I hang out with libertarians), these intelligent design and creationist idiots piss me off loads. Those on the Right need to make it clear that they aren’t welcome. They are, among any intelligent people, on the losing side of the debate. Politically, they’re a nightmare for any government outside of Red State America.

Yet people like Paul Johnson (from The Spectator) devotes column after column to pointing out the problems with ‘Darwinism’.

If the Right can’t get to grips with this basic fact of life (that we evolved from other species), they don’t deserve office. And I say that as a supporter of capitalist economics and good science.

Thanks EmmaPeel, I will be hanging out on your forum soon…

There are about 300 people who have signed the DI letter from time to time. They’re looking for 700 more, Jeff. They’ve been looking for about four years.

And how many Steves have they got?

Beware of anyone who speaks for Evangelicals. (Including myself.) :-) We’re all over the map concerning politics, science, etc. What has propped up any semblance of coherence is the warfare model. Once Evangelicals discover that they can remain Evangelicals while being good scientists or Democrats, the whole jig is up and the lock by the Religious Right and Republicans will be gone. The scientific community as of late has done a decent job of doing this (notwithstanding DI’s attempt of keeping the warfare model alive). It should be noted that the Republican/Evangelical alliance is only a recent phenomenon. Many Evangelicals voted for Bill Clinton in 1996.

As to Pinkerton’s main argument, it should be remembered the reason why Evangelicals supported Free Market economics was because its alternative was GODLESS Communism. If the alternative was Christian Socialism the support will be more diffused. In short, Pinkerton’s free market argument will probably have little force amongst those whom you could attract (moderate and progressive Evangelicals). The direct approach will be more fruitful. Namely, what you are promoting is the truth.

James Pinkerton wrote:

No serious scientist believes the literal Biblical creation account, but many earnest and well-credentialed scientists do believe in Intelligent Design (ID), as a perspective on evolution. And ID, of course, is religiously inspired.

There probably are some “serious scientists” who “believe the literal Biblical creation account.” I think I’ve heard of at least one. But it would be a tiny percentage. There might be like three or four in the entire world. And there may not be any. Are there “many earnest and well-credentialed scientists” who “do believe in Intelligent Design (ID), as a perspective on evolution?” “Many” is a problematic word. I can think of maybe three or four. I suspect that, among people worldwide with a doctorate in a natural science from an accredited university, literally 99% accept the idea that self-replicating molecules evolved (through reproduction) into all the organisms that have lived in earth. One thing to remember: There are lots of scientists in China, and there are 1.3 billion Chinese. There are about 1 billion Indians, and I think a very large percentage of Hindus accept the idea that self-replicating molecules evolved (through reproduction) into all the organisms that have lived in earth.

I saw a statistic that 96% of Japanese citizens accept evolution.

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This page contains a single entry by Timothy Sandefur published on June 9, 2005 10:28 AM.

Tulsa Zoo and Creationism was the previous entry in this blog.

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