Monday, April 04, 2011

What Is Intelligent Design Creationism? - Is It Science?

One of the common claims of Intelligent Design Creationists is that their creationist worldview is actually real science. What they do, according to this claim, is investigate nature looking for solid evidence of design. This usually involves some form of specified complexity or irreducible complexity. The "scientific" evidence of design, according to the creationists, means that God must have played a role in the creation of intelligent god-fearing humans.

In fairness, they often try to avoid stating the obvious implication of their "findings" in order to avoid criticism. They pretend that just proving the existence of intelligent design is as far as they go and the rest ("God did it") isn't really part of their movement. Nobody is fooled by this silliness.

Any objective view of the IDiot literature reveals that attacks on evolution constitute >99% of their activity. It's rare to find an article or book that presents a positive case for a creator design. Whenever you poke an IDiot with this fact they will almost always deny it, saying that Intelligent Design Creationism really is scientific—it's the scientific demonstration of design.

Denyse O'Leary knows better. She wonders, Are ID researchers making progress?. She's troubled by the fact that much of the literature is just attacks on evolution and positive contributions to intelligent design are few and far between. She has an explanation for this focus on attacking evolution. I repeat it here because it's one of the few honest appraisals of the goals of the movement.
I have thought about that one for a while, and now usually reply:

Because, just as bad money drives out good, bad ideas drive out good. Let us say your country’s carefully regulated money supply is assaulted by counterfeiters. Does it make more sense to start by exposing them or to just virtuously ignore them and continue to print good money – while they continue to print bad money?

Remember, they have no obligation to balance the money supply with available goods, but you do.

To me, Darwinism is like bad money. It becomes an intellectual vice. People are always looking for natural selection to generate random mutation, the way they are always trying to pass on the likely-bogus G-bill (when they are not out looking for the lucky strike).

I too look forward to the day that ID researchers are free to do positive work, but right now we are swamped in a Darwinism whose fraudulence is often unrecognized because it is so often ridiculous. So, as with counterfeit money, the first goal is to demonstrate that much intellectual currency is bogus. Don’t accept it and don’t pass it on. And don’t imagine that everyone will want to know this. Quite the opposite.

So can good money ever drive out bad? Yes, but it is tough slogging.
I assume that the new book by Jonathan Wells will be mostly evolution-bashing. I'm not expecting to see any evidence of intelligent design.1


1. Yes, I know this can be taken two ways.

[Photo Credit: Canadian Writers Who Are Christian]

50 comments :

  1. O'Leary's metaphor is pretty apt. It shows how something that's established & proven (real money) can come under attack from a small amount of something counterfeit, perpetrated by unsavory people for their own illegitimate purposes.

    Similarly, the established and validated theory of evolution is under attack from the conterfeit claims of ID, also being perpetrated by unsavory people for their own illegitimate purposes. That's O'Leary's point, right? Oh, wait....

    As an aside, I loved this quote:

    People are always looking for natural selection to generate random mutation....

    The only people looking for natural selection to generate mutations are people that don't understand natural selection (or evolution in general). Like, um, Denise O'Leary.

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  2. Shorter Denyse: Yeah, we still got nuttin'.

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  3. Can anyone think of another profession that has to put up with this nonsense? A new strategy is needed, ignore these kooks.

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  4. Dr. Moran, you have said:
    "It's rare to find an article or book that presents a positive case for a creator design."

    But we all know why they are "rare":

    http://www.uncommondescent.com/darwinism/are-id-researchers-making-progress/
    Luskin’s is obviously not intended to be a complete list. Here’s a much fuller one. But, given the difficulties of even raising these issues in Darwinworld, it is a wonder that any papers were published anywhere. Does anyone remember what happened to editor Rick Sternberg of the Journal of the Biological Society of Washington (Smithsonian) over Steve Meyer’s peer reviewed paper suggesting that design might be a reasonable explanation?"


    By the way, I am not a creationist.

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  5. It is still incredibly misguided and she is not open to that possibility.

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  6. "People are always looking for natural selection to generate random mutation..."

    ???

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  7. anonymous says,

    But we all know why they are "rare":

    I wasn't restricting my comments to scientific articles. Even when you throw in trade books and articles in popular magazines, you'll look in vain for any evidence of intelligent design. You won't even find it on the IDiot blogs.

    It's all about bashing evolution, wherever you look. In fact, this is the one characteristic that distinguishes Intelligent Design Creationism from Theistic Evolution—which otherwise are almost indistignuishable. IDiots attack evolution and "Darwinists" and theistic evolutionists defend evolution and evolutonary biologists.

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  8. I agree with your point that ID isn't much of a scientific hypothesis. Where are the details? Where are the predictions? It's more of a philosophical claim. (The only ID writer who seems to be developing some kind of hypothesis is Mike Gene.)

    Nevertheless, in your post last year about my Synthese article (Oct 14, 2010) you said that negative claims can be scientific. You even gave your own examples of such negative science. So, while ID isn't a scientific *hypothesis*, it does make scientific *claims* (correct or otherwise).

    Richard

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  9. It is easy to overlook the obvious.
    Proponents of ID are not hired by universities etc. They are not being paid salaries (like evolutionists are) to research and support ID ideas.
    The two situations are not even close.

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  10. The problem, it seems to me, is that in order to posit a designer for a particular process or development, you have to exclude all scientific possibilities and it is not possible to do that. You can say that to ascribe such and such a process to a designer is “reasonable” or “unreasonable” but that is all you can do.

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  11. Richard Johns says,

    Nevertheless, in your post last year about my Synthese article (Oct 14, 2010) you said that negative claims can be scientific. You even gave your own examples of such negative science. So, while ID isn't a scientific *hypothesis*, it does make scientific *claims* (correct or otherwise).

    That's correct. It's perfectly scientific to question the accepted scientific models of evolution. Lot's of scientists do that.

    That doesn't make them IDiots. In order to qualify for that title you need two additional qualifications: (1) your attacks on evolution have to be stupid, and (2) you have to be a supporter of the non-scientific Intelligent Design Creationist movement.

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  12. Re anomymous

    It is easy to overlook the obvious.
    Proponents of ID are not hired by universities etc. They are not being paid salaries (like evolutionists are) to research and support ID ideas.
    The two situations are not even close.


    Neither are flat earthers, germ theory deniers, astrologers, etc. Creationism is no more scientific then these notions.

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  13. "People are always looking for natural selection to generate random mutation...."

    Creationist idiots are always looking to interject "random" where there is no randomization in the process.

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  14. Anonymous writes:

    Proponents of ID are not hired by universities etc. They are not being paid salaries....

    Couldn't possibly be that they've got nothing worth paying for. Nope, must be the Perfect 150-Year Global Darwinist Conspiracy again.

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  15. Meanwhile, much productive work occurs using the ideas of evolution.

    Indeed, that is why her metaphor is so pig-ignorant and stupid. People did good work in geology prior to the acceptance of plate tectonics, and there'd be little reason to accept the latter if it didn't provide at least tentatively better explanations.

    Science is not composed of bogus ideas, in fact. Counterfeit bills are worthless once exposed, while science has good and fruitful ideas, even when these are still incomplete. ID could only scientifically fight evolution if it actually had answers, and it has none at all (not useful ones, at least).

    Pseudoscience is what thinks it should be able to prevail if it can simply show flaws in current science (or more accurately, if they can heap even dirt and lies upon science). Science is uninterested in claims that yield no results, as ID does, let alone claims that seek to undermine the very bases of evidence-based methods such as science.

    Glen Davidson

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  16. O'Leary et al.'s argument that there is too much evolution-bunkum out there, or that all the funding goes to evolutionists, etc, is clearly idiotic.
    All ID has to do is DEMONSTRATE DESIGN. That is the basic claim of intelligent design, if the 'movement' can't demonstrate design, then its POINTLESS.

    You don't need a big research grant to do this, (neverminding that ID-ists publish books and have money), you just need to at least show that you can even theoretically detect design, which hasn't been done, even if you allow them to not answer 'who is the designer' they've failed.

    How is it that ID-ists are even able to perpetuate this stuff at this point? For YEARS they've been claiming that the bacterial flagellum is designed, without actually demonstrating it. Why are they so patently unable to attempt this? Is it because, perhaps, they CAN'T??

    What kind of organization can possible cite as the reason for not having positive results as: 'the competition is very successful, rather than beat the competition, which we could do, we'd rather say that they're not successful. We have a better product, but rather than release it, we're going to invest in TV commercials."

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  17. SLC seems not to have understood the point I was making. Does anyone else understand it?

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  18. @ Anonymous
    No research salaries?

    Michael Behe
    http://www.lehigh.edu/~inbios/faculty/behe.html

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  19. Anonymous said...
    SLC seems not to have understood the point I was making. Does anyone else understand it?
    No. You had no point.

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  20. " Does anyone remember what happened to editor Rick Sternberg of the Journal of the Biological Society of Washington (Smithsonian) over Steve Meyer’s peer reviewed paper suggesting that design might be a reasonable explanation?"



    Yes, he got what he deserved for his sickening antics.

    The Meyer paper was mostly copy and pasted drom his earlier essays and was not even relevant to the thrust of the journal. Sternberg did his ideologically buddy a favor and took one for the tream.

    If ID advocates could actually come up with something legitimate, then they might have room to complain.

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  21. Proponents of ID are not hired by universities etc. They are not being paid salaries (like evolutionists are) to research and support ID ideas.
    The two situations are not even close.




    Proponents of Holocaust denial are not hired by universities etc. They are not being paid salaries (like actual historians are) to research and support anti-Holocaust ideas.
    The two situations are not even close.


    Of course, the Discovery Institute does have a multi-million dollar 'research' budget. I have to wonder what they are spending it on.

    PR maybe?


    By the way - I am a university professor and Meyer and Wells are paid far more than I am. That is what happens when you have a ready-made audience and wealthy benefactors with an ideology to push.

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  22. Anonymous whine:

    "SLC seems not to have understood the point I was making. Does anyone else understand it?"


    Yes, it is horrible discrimination against these brave ultra-scientific souls.

    I wonder how many old-earthers are hired at Liberty U, which received more federal money than any other university in Virginia?
    I wonder how many 'evos' Billy Dembski spars with at the baptist Seminary he works at?
    I wonder how many non-IDCs can be found roaming the halls of the DI?

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  23. Anonymous: Does anyone remember what happened to editor Rick Sternberg of the Journal of the Biological Society of Washington (Smithsonian) over Steve Meyer’s peer reviewed paper suggesting that design might be a reasonable explanation?"

    Yes I do, but back up a step. What do you think of Meyer's paper? Do you think it was good science that fell within the usual area of research covered by the journal? I don't; I think it was a wheelbarrow load of the usual Creationist cr*p. Detailed reviews are readily available so I won't go into detail here.

    So then, von Sternberg used his position as journal editor to bypass the usual editorial procedure and put a wheelbarrow load of cr*p into print. What do you think he deserves for that performance?

    And most likely what you think happened to von Sternberg isn't what really happened. He was not fired (His position with the Smithsonian was an unpaid courtesy appointment anyway). He didn't lose access to Smithsonian research materials. It mostly comes down to some of his co-workers said bad things about him.
    Creating a Martyr: The Sternberg Saga Continues
    by Ed Brayton, December 2006

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  24. Anonymous: It is easy to overlook the obvious.
    Proponents of ID are not hired by universities etc. They are not being paid salaries (like evolutionists are) to research and support ID ideas.
    The two situations are not even close.


    And yet they seem to have a lot of money to lobby school boards and state legislatures. Why don't they use some of that money on research instead? You know, actually do some science before going around telling people that they have the science?

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  25. Interestingly enough, the Dishonesty Institute is the worlds center of denialist thinking. In addition to evolution denial, they specialize in global warming denial, HIV/AIDS denial, cigarette smoking/lung cancer denial, CFCs/ozone depletion denial, and, in the presence of their director, John West, Holocaust revisionism.

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  26. Well people are making my point for me.
    By mentioning the handful of ID people being paid, it shows the huge difference between the number of those people and the number of evolutionists being paid.
    Perhaps a ratio of 1 to 1,000?

    You don't have to answer. We all know the huge difference.

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  27. Anonymous writes:

    Well people are making my point for me. By mentioning the handful of ID people being paid, it shows the huge difference between the number of those people and the number of evolutionists being paid. Perhaps a ratio of 1 to 1,000?

    You don't have to answer. We all know the huge difference.


    Yes, we all agree that far more people are paid to study evolution than are paid to study/promote ID.

    The question now is, have YOU understood anyone else's points? What's the ratio of paid flat-earth researchers versus paid mainstream geologists/geographers? How about paid germ-theory deniers versus paid mainstream microbiologists.

    I bet those ratios are at least as skewed as paid ID researchers vs. paid evolutionists. Do you think there could be legitimate reasons for that? Or is it conspiracies all the way down?

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  28. O'Leary: "I too look forward to the day that ID researchers are free to do positive work, but right now we are swamped in a Darwinism whose fraudulence is often unrecognized because it is so often ridiculous. "

    I love it when the IDers play the victim card. Poor them! If only those mean Darwinists would stop persecuting them they can get on with some real research.

    Of course they do actually have a research "institute" the Biologic who presumably are free to demonstrate ID as much as they want. Go here: biologicinstitute.org. I think it speaks for itself...

    Anyway I've noticed on UD it seems that Ms O'Leary is going for quantity over quality again. They should just rename it Uncommon Denyse...

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  29. The idea of this thread is that ID folks don't produce enough material of a positive nature supporting their claim.
    I am pointing out that ID folks are outnumbered by what, 1 to 1,000?
    1 to 2,000? More?

    That is what I am getting at.

    But there is another game going on as well.
    When ID folks do produce evidence it is dismissed as not being evidence.
    I have seen that game many times.

    It is hardly worth wasting time discussing it.

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  30. The anonymous troll raves: Well people are making my point for me.

    You do very well all by yourself.

    Don't be laying that shit on other folks door steps.

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  31. I'm thinking if design is to make a positive case it has to be like archeology, or forensics. What these depend on is knowledge of designers, humans in particular. It's going to be a soft science most likely, or more likely, a branch of theology.

    Study of God, you know--after deciding he exists, you can then inquire into what he might or might not do, and examine what you deem his past works, and so on.

    Tracing the hand of God, you know. What the early scientists, it seems, did.

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  32. "People are always looking for natural selection to generate random mutation..."

    This is akin to claiming "people are always looking for sculptors to shit marble". Sculptors don't create marble; they act on the marble they come across. Likewise, natural selection doesn't "generate" mutations; it's the process by which mutations, when they arise, are tested by interaction with the environment in which they're expressed and either found wanting (resulting in the likely early death of the mutant organism), or found beneficial (in which case, the odds are better than average that the mutant organism will survive, reproduce, and pass that advantage on to future generations).

    I'm not even a scientist. If I can get this, and she can't, what the hell is she doing purporting to doing scientific work?

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  33. Anonymous said...
    The idea of this thread is that ID folks don't produce enough material of a positive nature supporting their claim.
    The idea of this thread is that ID folks don't try to produce any evidence supporting their claim.

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  34. Anonymous said...
    It is hardly worth wasting time discussing it
    Then don't further waste people's time.

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  35. So ID folks are outnumbered.

    They should be, just as Holocaust deniers are outnumbered by legitimate historians.

    But the IDers are far from cash-strapped, they just prefer to spend their money on PR and lobbying instead of actually testing their ideas. I suspect THAT is why they've got nothing but lie and error-filled vanity press books and websites.

    Want to see some actual ID scicne from a real live ID scientist? Look up Wells' centriole paper. Then look up the criticisms of it - how it was refuted by already published papers that Wells apparently just ignored.

    ID 'science'... Whatever...

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  36. "
    You don't have to answer. We all know the huge difference. "

    I have an explanation. There is little value in funding research that produces no research product beyond recombinant whine.

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  37. Anonymous said...: It is hardly worth wasting time discussing it.

    Bye bye then. Don't let the screen door hit your backside on the way out.

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  38. I am pointing out that ID folks are outnumbered by what, 1 to 1,000?
    1 to 2,000? More?

    That is what I am getting at.


    So true. Darwin was all alone (so far as he knew, anyhow) for 20 years in understanding evolution, and he couldn't adduce any real evidence for it.

    Oh you know, except for a whole book.

    But that's science for you being unfair. Great new ideas open opportunities for discovery, causing a few scientists who are in on it first to be highly productive. ID, by contrast, generates nothing of value, proving how unfair science is.

    But there is another game going on as well.
    When ID folks do produce evidence it is dismissed as not being evidence.


    Yeah, funny how we're not impressed with evidence that life is complex.

    IDiots would have to produce evidence entailed by design, like rationality behind life. Since they can't do that, they pretend that "it's complex" is evidence for design.

    I have seen that game many times.

    Mean scientists, disallowing fraudulent claims by pseudoscientists.

    Glen Davidson

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  39. This is worth repeating:

    But there is another game going on as well.
    When ID folks do produce evidence it is dismissed as not being evidence.
    I have seen that game many times.

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  40. Hey! That other Anonymous may be on to something! I just checked out the Discovery Institute members list. Not even they, hire ID scientists. Lawyers and former Politicians a-plenty, but no scientists! Even the DI is keeping these ID scientists down.

    /sarcasm

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  41. Anonymous said: When ID folks do produce evidence...
    I have seen that game many times.


    I dare say you have not. When have ID folks ever produced evidence?

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  42. People here seem not to be aware of Signature in the Cell or The Edge of Evolution, just to name a couple.
    Evolutionists do not acknowledge evidence from ID folks and then claim the ID folks have not given evidence.

    It is a game we have all seen many times.

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  43. Anon:
    The idea of this thread is that ID folks don't produce [enough] material of a positive nature supporting their claim."
    You misspelled "any".

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  44. Anonymous said... People here seem not to be aware of Signature in the Cell or The Edge of Evolution, just to name a couple.
    Evolutionists do not acknowledge evidence from ID folks and then claim the ID folks have not given evidence.


    I'm aware of those books, which are non-peer-reviewed and written for popular audiences. What does that have to do with evidence? You said there was evidence. Do we have to explain to you what qualifies as evidence?

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  45. People here seem not to be aware of Signature in the Cell or The Edge of Evolution, just to name a couple.

    You mean that we don't know about stupid lying books? You're altogether ignorant about what we know, and how really dumb ID books are.

    Here's my review of SITC on Amazon, complete with how badly Meyer used several quotes

    So you're wrong on that score, Anon. You really are good at getting everything wrong.

    Glen Davidson

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  46. As I said
    Evolutionists do not acknowledge evidence from ID folks and then claim the ID folks have not given evidence.

    We are all familiar with this game.

    And I am not an ID guy nor a creationist.

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  47. Bayesian Bouffant, FCDFriday, April 08, 2011 9:13:00 AM

    Anonymous said.. And I am not an ID guy nor a creationist.

    Oh, so you're not an IDiot, you're just an idiot.

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  48. @Anonymous IDiot Evolutionists do not acknowledge evidence from ID folks and then claim the ID folks have not given evidence.

    Why do you assume that "evolutionists" are as as dishonest as you are ?

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  49. Why in the world are you even acknowledging an utter crank like O'Leary, who long ago threw in with the reality demises at Coservapedia. She's got nothing to say that I care to know about. I live in an evidence-based reality.

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  50. O'Leary says:
    I too look forward to the day that ID researchers are free to do positive work, but right now we are swamped in a Darwinism whose fraudulence is often unrecognized because it is so often ridiculous.

    Is she too stupid to understand that providing hard evidence that actually supports ID's claims would both undermine evolutionary theory and show that IDiots were right all along? If they were right they'd be able to demonstrate it - that's what being right means.

    If the possibility existed that they could demonstrate the veracity of their ID claims, they would pump their multi-million dollar annual budget into actual research rather than marketing and political influence. But, the IDiots themselves know that no such possibility exists.

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