An ID anniversary missed

Intelligent Design Creationists have given us a number of anniversaries to observe. For example, there’s Paul Nelson’s long awaited “omnibus reply” to PZ Myers’ critique of Nelson’s “ontogenetic depth” notion, later amended to version 2.0 (for which we’re also still waiting). And of course, there’s Nelson’s eternally forthcoming monograph On Common Descent which has been hanging fire for a decade or so.

Now in another recent thread on PT Mike Elzinga provided a link that reminds me that we missed the anniversary of a prediction from William Dembski that Wesley Elsberry first noted in 2004. In the July/August 2004 issue of Touchstone in an article titled The Measure of Design, Dembski made a bold prediction:

In the next five years, molecular Darwinism–the idea that Darwinian processes can produce complex molecular structures at the subcellular level–will be dead. When that happens, evolutionary biology will experience a crisis of confidence because evolutionary biology hinges on the evolution of the right molecules. I therefore foresee a Taliban-style collapse of Darwinism in the next ten years.

Perhaps by coincidence (or design?) I’ve just been reading biochemist Nick Lane’s Life Ascending: The Ten Great Inventions of Evolution, recent winner of the 2010 Royal Society Prize for Science books. In particular, Chapters 2 and 3, on the evolution of the genetic code and the evolution of photosynthesis, respectively, emphatically give the lie to Dembski’s prediction. As a result, his further prediction seems a little iffy:

I therefore foresee a Taliban-style collapse of Darwinism in the next ten years.

Just four years to wait for that one now. But do try again, Bill. You’re already an official contributor to The Imminent Demise of Evolution: The Longest Running Falsehood in Creationism, and with another failed prediction or two you could be the record holder.

And note that another Dembski prediction from 1998’s Mere Creation, is also way overdue:

Intelligent design is a fledgling science. Even so, intelligent design is a fledgling of enormous promise. Many books and articles are in the pipeline. I predict that in the next five years intelligent design will be sufficiently developed to deserve funding from the National Science Foundation. (p29)

We’re now 12 years downstream from that one. Maybe the Templeton Foundation’s evaluation of ID as a research program has also infected NSF.