An ID anniversary missed

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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.

104 Comments

Well if you want to go into that pathetic level of detail then maybe they have missed a few anniversaries but it was don intelligently and by design.

tsig said:

Well if you want to go into that pathetic level of detail then maybe they have missed a few anniversaries but it was don intelligently and by design.

don done

This seems to be what happens when one resorts to casting Bones of Contention.

Their predictions are no better than those of astrologers. Behe can tell you about that.

Mike Elzinga said:

Their predictions are no better than those of astrologers. Behe can tell you about that.

So it -is- a science!

I just started reading Lane’s book as well. I’m enjoying it so far.

However, the cover on the paperback edition is unfortunate. It looks like the monkey is boning the anteater from behind. Is that intelligent design?

Damn, that’s funny; plus the anteater looks like it’s “probing” the frog…

A few years ago they didn’t realize how wrong they were. Now they know, but they keep chugging along. Creationists can never be wrong about “something was poofed somewhere along the line dang it”. They’re vaguely right about everything but the arguments aren’t in yet. They thought some of the arguments were in, but they all got squashed. But they’re still vaguely right somehow. (I’m of course referring to the ones who aren’t outright frauds/hucksters etc.)

I know how frustrating that must be for Dembski, because I too have a prediction – well, it’s more of an expectation: One day the big money contributors to the Discovery Institute will wake up realize that they’ve been conned and it’s time to shut the joint down. But that never seems to happen, so I’m not a very good prognosticator.

Wasn’t Nelson’s On Common Descent book allegedly going to be published as part of the Evolutionary Monographs series edited by Leigh van Valen? Given that van Valen died recently, it would seem even more unlikely that this will ever happen.

And the Taliban haven’t exactly collapsed either. Not only did his prediction fail, his analogy did as well.

The ID movement turned into a Taliban bowel movement. All they are stuck with doing is remote detinating their car bombs. They also have some true believers willing to go for the suicide attacks (I think Luskin went to Florida to run the bait and switch on the Florida rubes that wanted to teach the science of intelligent design a couple of years ago), but the ID perps are too incomptent to successfully martyr themselves. Luskin should have at least been tarred and feathered in Florida, but all he likely got was a raise. No virgins, valhalla or whatever for him.

You guys are so mean to Paul Nelson! Just think how far behind he would be if he actually had a job and worked for a living! Cut the guy some slack, OK?

You are assuming of course that the “big money contributors” are rational. In Howard Ahmanson’s case, I don’t think so:

The Curmudgeon said:

I know how frustrating that must be for Dembski, because I too have a prediction – well, it’s more of an expectation: One day the big money contributors to the Discovery Institute will wake up realize that they’ve been conned and it’s time to shut the joint down. But that never seems to happen, so I’m not a very good prognosticator.

Compared to Van Valen - who died on October 16th - Dembski was - and will always remain - an intellectual pygmy, whose “intelligence” isn’t worthy of Van Valen’s favorite fictional creature, a Hobbit:

SteveF said:

Wasn’t Nelson’s On Common Descent book allegedly going to be published as part of the Evolutionary Monographs series edited by Leigh van Valen? Given that van Valen died recently, it would seem even more unlikely that this will ever happen.

Doc Bill said:

You guys are so mean to Paul Nelson! Just think how far behind he would be if he actually had a job and worked for a living! Cut the guy some slack, OK?

Just remember, it took Darwin took twenty years before he published his book on common descent!

Hadn’t realized this was Morton of Morton’s demon. I see his predictions are pretty iffy too. In April he said cosmic ray flux hit an all-time high so therefore, more clouds which will result in a cooling earth: Just in time for a series of the hottest 12-month periods on record from May to September (May09-May10, June09-June10 etc). Seldom does a prediction fail on such a spectacular level.

Maybe he’s changed now, but up to April his demon was still pretty busy. Because of his blindness in that area, I’d want to double-check references/sources for anything else he’s written no matter how much I agree with it. –dan

Aagcobb said:

Doc Bill said:

You guys are so mean to Paul Nelson! Just think how far behind he would be if he actually had a job and worked for a living! Cut the guy some slack, OK?

Just remember, it took Darwin took twenty years before he published his book on common descent!

Of course, Darwin was thoughtful and dealt with actual data; both of these factors might have slowed the process a bit.

Another tactic of the ID creationist is to declare that neo-Darwinism is already dead. (Somehow working scientists missed this fact and weren’t even invited to the funeral.)

The name Lynn Margulis is bandied about in this context, as well as the “Atenberg 16”. The purpose is to make us believe that the growth and development of evolutionary theory somehow props up ID. But then again, when the host eats the parasite gets fatter.

I also want to mention how grateful I am when scientists from PT visit BioLogos and offer their much-needed input. Often their leadership posts and runs, leaving the creationists to have a field day. Sanity checks are often lacking.

You mean the Altenberg 16, and a proceedings volume from their workshop, edited by philosopher and evolutionary biologist Massimo Pigliucci, was published a few months back by MIT Press if I’m not mistaken:

Karen S. said: The name Lynn Margulis is bandied about in this context, as well as the “Atenberg 16”. The purpose is to make us believe that the growth and development of evolutionary theory somehow props up ID. But then again, when the host eats the parasite gets fatter.

I also want to mention how grateful I am when scientists from PT visit BioLogos and offer their much-needed input. Often their leadership posts and runs, leaving the creationists to have a field day. Sanity checks are often lacking.

As for BioLogos, their credibility has sunk to an all time low by allowing themselves to become the intellectual prostitutes of the Dishonesty Institute at that recent conference which they cosponsored with the DI that also included the American Scientific Affiliation. Both Darrel Falk and Karl Giberson from BioLogos ought to come to their senses now, realizing that no one from the DI can be trusted simply for being fellow “Brothers in Christ”, but I strongly doubt that they will ever join Steve Matheson in condemning the DI for being the intellectually dishonest and morally reprehensible entity that it is.

Uh, I suppose it’s pretty obvious to everyone that the DI’s predictions are no such thing. They are public relations, claims made to create the desired (false) impressions in the target audience at the time they are made. They have nothing to do with any future events. The DI will say anything they think people want to hear, which is their Official Position only until the next time they say anything.

I think their goal is to expand that population that (as Lincoln observed) they can fool all of the time. But it doesn’t hurt to keep stroking those who are permanently pre-fooled. The “death of evolution” still sells, and announcing or predicting it still gets those juices flowing. These pronouncements aren’t predictions, they are refresh cycles.

SWT said:

Of course, Darwin was thoughtful and dealt with actual data; both of these factors might have slowed the process a bit.

Also he didn’t have any more power to win friends or influence people than did lots of other scientists; he just happened to be the one who first hit on something that worked quite well (and that somebody else would have hit on sooner or later if he hadn’t; once DNA was understood the conclusions would have been obvious to all scientists anyway).

Yet the anti-evolutionists keep claiming that Darwin had lots of power over people; it’s like they worship him or something.

John Kwok said:

Compared to Van Valen - who died on October 16th - Dembski was - and will always remain - an intellectual pygmy, whose “intelligence” isn’t worthy of Van Valen’s favorite fictional creature, a Hobbit:

SteveF said:

Wasn’t Nelson’s On Common Descent book allegedly going to be published as part of the Evolutionary Monographs series edited by Leigh van Valen? Given that van Valen died recently, it would seem even more unlikely that this will ever happen.

that is not a nice thing to say about Hobbits.

The quote from Charles L. Harper Jr., senior vice president at the Templeton Foundation, should be framed and hung on the wall: “From the point of view of rigor and intellectual seriousness, the intelligent design people don’t come out very well in our world of scientific review.” (And that’s from a December 2005 news article…nothing’s changed since.)

William Dembski:

The implications of intelligent design are radical in the true sense of this much overused word. The question posed by intelligent design is not how we should do science and theology in light of the triumph of Enlightenment rationalism and scientific naturalism. The question is rather how we should do science and theology in light of the impending collapse of Enlightenment rationalism and scientific naturalism. These ideologies are on the way out…because they are bankrupt.

Don’t forget Dembski’s prediction that science and the Enlightment are going to collapse any minute now. These are the two pillars of modern Hi Tech 21st century civilization and secular democracy.

Haven’t noticed it lately. In terms of grandiose and wrong predictions, this is extreme. However, it is not the most grandiose.

The rapture monkeys, of which Dembski probably is one, predict that the happy day when jesus shows up and destroys the earth and kills 6.7 billion people will happen any day now. This prediction is now 2,000 years late but what is a few millenia off anyway?

I strongly beg to differ. Hobbits are far more honorable, far more courageous, far more humble, (and IMHO intelligent too) creatures than the ever delusional Bill Dembski shall ever be, especially when he is a covert follower of Sauron:

jasonmitchell said:

John Kwok said:

Compared to Van Valen - who died on October 16th - Dembski was - and will always remain - an intellectual pygmy, whose “intelligence” isn’t worthy of Van Valen’s favorite fictional creature, a Hobbit:

SteveF said:

Wasn’t Nelson’s On Common Descent book allegedly going to be published as part of the Evolutionary Monographs series edited by Leigh van Valen? Given that van Valen died recently, it would seem even more unlikely that this will ever happen.

that is not a nice thing to say about Hobbits.

Both Darrel Falk and Karl Giberson from BioLogos ought to come to their senses now, realizing that no one from the DI can be trusted simply for being fellow “Brothers in Christ”, but I strongly doubt that they will ever join Steve Matheson in condemning the DI for being the intellectually dishonest and morally reprehensible entity that it is.

No, they will never publicly condemn them. We can only imagine what they really think.

Let’s not forget the Wedge Document (1999):

Five Year Goals:

To see Intelligent Design theory as an accepted alternative in the sciences and scientific research being done from the perspective of design theory…

FIVE YEAR OBJECTIVES

[skipped 1 and 2]

3. One hundred scientific, academic, and technical articles by our fellows

Missed by that much, as Maxwell Smart would say.

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)

As always with the DI, conclusions first - evidence later (never).

Although these predictions haven’t come true, the DI does seem to have achieved its applied goals.

There are few or no barriers to entry in the lucrative creationism industry, but the undeniable fact is that circa 1995, just as the new medium of internet was coming into its own, the market was dominated by the old blue chip firms like ICR, which had established themselves in the 1960’s. (In fact, years ago in a university library basement, I saw a book published in the 1950’s, with an author from a seminary in Nebraska, and it already contained many of the standard “creation science” argument - the author claimed the 100th anniversary of Origin of Species as a motivation - I didn’t know enough to take it seriously at the time.)

Anyone can write a copycat book going on about the second law of thermodynamics and dust on the moon, and many do, but to capture market share from the established players, some new bafflegab was needed.

After twenty to thirty years of stasis, and after a decade of surly relative silence due to the lawsuits of the seventies and eighties, the DI produced some slightly different bafflegab, and doing so paid off handsomely.

At this point, “ID” arguments have been accepted by creationists as unqualified creationist arguments. The same person who argues that there are “no transitional fossils” or mentions “Piltdown Man” is likey to make reference to “irreducible complexity”.

Now, I offer a prediction, but in the form of an “If…then…” statement.

If evolution deniers come up with some relatively original bafflegab again, THEN the US media will go through a spasm of touting it as “ground breaking”, claiming that the theory of evolution has been “seriously challenged”, and accusing skeptical, rational scientists of being “hidebound dogmatists”.

JoeBuddha said:

eric said:

W. H. Heydt said: As any active reader knows, the seeding was done by the Arisians and we’d be on an uninterrupted upward path if not for the intervention of the Eddorians.

E.E. Doc Smith! Great use of the old ‘kill grendel, get grendel’s mom’ device. He ratcheted up the enemies for, what, 7 books?

6, but who’s counting…

Depends on how you count _The Vortex Blaster_.

–W. H. Heydt

Old Used Programmer

Indeed. I believe that’s why Ken Miller thinks Mike Behe should be writing the definitive textbook on Klingon biochemistry.

Yes, called Of Pandas and Klingons

Karen S. said:

Indeed. I believe that’s why Ken Miller thinks Mike Behe should be writing the definitive textbook on Klingon biochemistry.

Yes, called Of Pandas and Klingons

If memory serves me correctly, isn’t a panda on Qo’noS called a targ?

There wasn’t any kind of Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre if my memory is correct. But wait, maybe Premise Media and Ben Stein can unearth something that’s quite damning. How about “Explanatory Filter: Dr. Dembski Meets Dr. Pangloss”:

Ron Okimoto said:

John Kwok said:

On a more serious note, Philip Johnson is the “GODFATHER” of the Intelligent Design movement. The Dishonesty Institute’s Center for (the Renewal of) Science and Culture couldn’t remove him as an advisor as much as a diehard Communist couldn’t reject Marx and Lenin as the intellectual “fathers” of Communism. What would good God-fearing Christian people think of the Dishonesty Institute repudiated its “GODFATHER”? Heaven forbid.

Even after he decapoed his capos?

No, a targ is a ferocious Klingon boar with the temperment of a Doberman pinscher:

Mike Elzinga said:

Karen S. said:

Indeed. I believe that’s why Ken Miller thinks Mike Behe should be writing the definitive textbook on Klingon biochemistry.

Yes, called Of Pandas and Klingons

If memory serves me correctly, isn’t a panda on Qo’noS called a targ?

Not quite:

Karen S. said:

Indeed. I believe that’s why Ken Miller thinks Mike Behe should be writing the definitive textbook on Klingon biochemistry.

Yes, called Of Pandas and Klingons

Mike has the right idea:

“Of Targs and Pandas”

Though my favorite might be:

“The Privileged Planet: Qo’noS”

Freudian slip, I meant of course:

“Of Targs and Klingons”

John Kwok said:

Not quite:

Karen S. said:

Indeed. I believe that’s why Ken Miller thinks Mike Behe should be writing the definitive textbook on Klingon biochemistry.

Yes, called Of Pandas and Klingons

Mike has the right idea:

“Of Targs and Pandas”

Though my favorite might be:

“The Privileged Planet: Qo’noS”

John Kwok said:

No, a targ is a ferocious Klingon boar with the temperment of a Doberman pinscher:

Mike Elzinga said:

Karen S. said:

Indeed. I believe that’s why Ken Miller thinks Mike Behe should be writing the definitive textbook on Klingon biochemistry.

Yes, called Of Pandas and Klingons

If memory serves me correctly, isn’t a panda on Qo’noS called a targ?

So what toy is the stuffed teddy bear equivalent for a Klingon kid?

Mike Elzinga said:

John Kwok said:

No, a targ is a ferocious Klingon boar with the temperment of a Doberman pinscher:

Mike Elzinga said:

Karen S. said:

Indeed. I believe that’s why Ken Miller thinks Mike Behe should be writing the definitive textbook on Klingon biochemistry.

Yes, called Of Pandas and Klingons

If memory serves me correctly, isn’t a panda on Qo’noS called a targ?

So what toy is the stuffed teddy bear equivalent for a Klingon kid?

The targ’s heart.

Also doubles as a chewtoy.

John Kwok said:

No, Ron, I didn’t miss that Next Generation episode. That was one of the best ones in the latter seasons of ST:TNG IMHO:

It doesn’t matter they weren’t very consistent. Q took Picard back to the primordial earth and life failed to evolve in the slime puddle. The number of bacteria Picard shed on the primordial earth should have been sufficient to start a new biosphere. The last Star Trek movie solved all the problems and blatant inconsistencies of Enterprise by letting us all know that whole new realities are spawned with every new episode.

To bad that we don’t seem to be in a reality where intelligent design isn’t a scam.

Yes, you’re right about their inconsistencies, but since one of my relatives won the Romulan scoutship from the episode “The Defector” (It was later recycled for something else, and it’s primarily that version which is incorporated in the model she won.), I’ve tended overlook them:

Ron Okimoto said:

John Kwok said:

No, Ron, I didn’t miss that Next Generation episode. That was one of the best ones in the latter seasons of ST:TNG IMHO:

It doesn’t matter they weren’t very consistent. Q took Picard back to the primordial earth and life failed to evolve in the slime puddle. The number of bacteria Picard shed on the primordial earth should have been sufficient to start a new biosphere. The last Star Trek movie solved all the problems and blatant inconsistencies of Enterprise by letting us all know that whole new realities are spawned with every new episode.

To bad that we don’t seem to be in a reality where intelligent design isn’t a scam.

But seriously, I really wish we did live in a “reality where intelligent design isn’t a scam”. Our only hope is that we should continue speaking out against it and reach out to ID’s intended audiences, merely to remind them of the Dishonesty Institute’s ongoing efforts in mendacity.

I hated the last “Star Trek” film merely because they played too fast and too loose with the well-established canon. Wished Warner Brothers might opt to revive “Babylon 5”, though since several of the original cast have died, I strongly doubt it would be the same show (or cinematic adaptation).

That sound’s right:

Stanton said:

Mike Elzinga said:

John Kwok said:

No, a targ is a ferocious Klingon boar with the temperment of a Doberman pinscher:

Mike Elzinga said:

Karen S. said:

Indeed. I believe that’s why Ken Miller thinks Mike Behe should be writing the definitive textbook on Klingon biochemistry.

Yes, called Of Pandas and Klingons

If memory serves me correctly, isn’t a panda on Qo’noS called a targ?

So what toy is the stuffed teddy bear equivalent for a Klingon kid?

The targ’s heart.

Also doubles as a chewtoy.

But of course the ever “wise” Bill Dembski would chide you for subscribing to such child-like behavior (He did that to me when I had the audacity to suggest to him (during a brief private e-mail correspondence three years ago) that there is more reality behind Klingon Cosmology than there will ever be for Intelligent Design cretinism.

W. H. Heydt said:

JoeBuddha said:

eric said:

W. H. Heydt said: As any active reader knows, the seeding was done by the Arisians and we’d be on an uninterrupted upward path if not for the intervention of the Eddorians.

E.E. Doc Smith! Great use of the old ‘kill grendel, get grendel’s mom’ device. He ratcheted up the enemies for, what, 7 books?

6, but who’s counting…

Depends on how you count _The Vortex Blaster_.

–W. H. Heydt

Old Used Programmer

I think of _The Vortex Blaster_ as more of an “in the same universe” book.

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