Saturday, April 25, 2009

Does Intelligent Design Creationism Make Scientific Predictions?

 
It is often claimed that Intelligent Design Creationism doesn't make predictions. This is not true. IDC predicted that irreducibly complex systems could not evolve. That was a firm prediction by Michael Behe.

The prediction has been shown to be wrong. There are many natural evolutionary pathways known to give rise to irreducibly complex systems. The citric acid cycle is a clear example and so is the bacterial flagellum.

Here's another prediction, according to Barry Arrington on Uncommon Descent [FAQ4 is Open for Comment].
ID does not make scientifically fruitful predictions.

This claim is simply false. To cite just one example, the non-functionality of “junk DNA” was predicted by Susumu Ohno (1972), Richard Dawkins (1976), Crick and Orgel (1980), Pagel and Johnstone (1992), and Ken Miller (1994), based on evolutionary presuppositions. In contrast, on teleological grounds, Michael Denton (1986, 1998), Michael Behe (1996), John West (1998), William Dembski (1998), Richard Hirsch (2000), and Jonathan Wells (2004) predicted that “junk DNA” would be found to be functional.

The Intelligent Design predictions are being confirmed and the Darwinist predictions are being falsified. For instance, ENCODE’s June 2007 results show substantial functionality across the genome in such “junk DNA” regions, including pseudogenes.

Thus, it is a matter of simple fact that scientists working in the ID paradigm carry out and publish research, and they have made significant and successful ID-based predictions.
This one is more contentious. There are many scientists who think that much of what we currently call "junk DNA" actually has a function. Even though they might be atheists, their prediction is the same as the creationists.

I'm convinced that most of our genome is truly junk. I predict that the creationist prediction will turn out to be wrong. I wonder if it means that intelligent design creationism will be falsified?


10 comments :

  1. "It is often claimed that Intelligent Design Creationism doesn't make predictions."I thought that what ID doesn't do is present a "theory" of ID. They certainly claim that "G-d did it", but beyond that they present nothing on how, evidence for it, etc. (To be fair, I suppose some would trot out a creation story, but has at least two problems: which creation story, and it's not "supposed" to be creationism [my understanding is that the whole reason for creating the ID movement was to create alternative to creationism for legal reasons]. It seems to me that they are stuck not able to present a "theory" of ID, in part, because to do so would reveal it to be creationism and thus that ID is a naked emperor.)

    "show substantial functionality across the genome [...] including pseudogenesHello? Pseudogenes are now functional?! :-/ *Sigh*

    "Even though they might be atheists, their prediction is the same as the creationists.Nitpick: you shouldn't really link predictions, hypotheses, etc., to ideologies, they ought to stand independently of them ;-) IMO. But I suppose you're just trying to be controversial or get some people excited :-)

    "I'm convinced that most of our genome is truly junk. I predict that the creationist prediction will turn out to be wrong. I wonder if it means that intelligent design creationism will be falsified?I know where you're coming from, but you can always invent a reason to justify most things ;-)

    Personally, I prefer to focus on the structure of the genome (in the 3-D structure sense) and the processes involved and just let the various elements fall within that context however they do and just not get distracted. These days, anyway. Pragmatism as I get older?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thus, it is a matter of simple fact that scientists working in the ID paradigm carry out and publish research,How did reach this conclusion?

    1) Promote creationist chestnut
    2) ???
    3) Research!

    ReplyDelete
  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I am surprised they didn't cite this:

    Nature Genetics
    Published online: 19 April 2009 | doi:10.1038/ng.368

    The regulated retrotransposon transcriptome of mammalian cells

    http://www.nature.com/ng/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/ng.368.html

    (authors too numerous to list)

    But of course, the subtle point that transcription of junk DNA does not mean functionality evades their reasoning.

    BTW, why is it that ID proponents are keen to cite ENCODE and FANTOM results but conveniently fail to mention the piRNA system?

    ReplyDelete
  5. I should emphasise that I responded to "It is often claimed that Intelligent Design Creationism doesn't make predictions" and not what their FAQ commentary starts with, "ID does not make scientifically fruitful predictions"... (!)

    George wrote: But of course, the subtle point that transcription of junk DNA does not mean functionalityPrecisely. I was going to add a comment to that effect on their FAQ thread, but they as that you register, etc...

    ReplyDelete
  6. The crux of the biscuit is not whether a theory or school makes predictions, or whether those predictions are fulfilled and contradicted: every scientific discipline is littered with failed hypotheses.

    The real issue is how the discipline responds to failed predictions. A good discipline uses the failure to become narrower, to make new predictions that are even more specific, rooting as deeply as is necessary to make more specific predictions. A poor discipline responds to failures by becoming broader, by making less specific predictions.

    We've seen the latter from ID: as each of their predictions have become falsified, the "science" has made broader predictions, pushing observational confirmation to difficult-to-test experiments, or "conclusions" that are impossible in principle to falsify.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Just because an IDiot makes a predition does not mean that it is one that necessarily flows from the ID theory; any more than a prediction of the utility (or lack of utility) of "junk DNA" by a real biologist means it's a prediction of the MToE.

    Indeed, although I don't know what the ID theory actually is (like everyone else, even the IDiots), I don't see where they would have a problem if the evidence shows that junk DNA really is just junk.

    (Of course, if the IDiots would actually put out a detailed comprehensive theory that is capable of generating testable predictions, we would know for sure. Fat chance that happens in my lifetime.)

    ReplyDelete
  8. Quite aside from predictions, IDC is not science because it provides no testable mechanism for how the "intelligent agency" manipulates DNA sequences, etc. It's one long argument from incredulity.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Claims of predicting function in junkDNA by ID advocates starting in the mid to late 1980s and up to 2004 is just plain bullshit.

    Even Denton's supposed 'predictions' were pre-dated by actual research publications going back to 1975 (and well before when different nomenclature was used).

    These people are just trying to puff up their religious pulp by accepting accolades for something they did not do.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I think the question is whether or not any ID theory yields predictions. I haven't seen any.

    IDists make "predictions," of course, but these always look like attempts to simply take over known facts for their beliefs.

    A real prediction of ID would be like the one Paley made, that life would have the features produced by architects and artificers.

    What's interesting is that Paley actually faulted evolutionary theories of his day for being unfalsifiable (he used different language), while his own claims were, at least in essence, falsifiable. Unfortunately for him, they were falsified by Darwin.

    Today's ID can't predict that irreducible complexity won't evolve. It has nothing with which to predict that. Nor can it speak to "junk DNA". Both Behe's and Barry's "predictions" are dependent upon evolutionary theory for any meaning (though they distort it), and do not flow from ID at all--except to the extent that ID is a way of lying about evolution and about "design".

    Glen Davidson

    ReplyDelete