ID Falling Apart?
But first, allow me to laugh out loud at this part:
Don’t be distracted by the “thousands” of articles being published in the research journals that purport to support evolutionary theory — this is an artifact of overfunding an underachieving theory.
He then continues:
I therefore offer the following proposal if ID gets outlawed from our public schools: retitle it Intelligent Evolution (IE).
Yup. That’s pretty much it. He apparently thinks that the main problem with ID is the word “design” in the name. Never mind the flawed arguments, the nonexistent supporting data, the evasiveness of its proponents when pressed for details, the fact that the IDists are either lying to school boards when they say ID isn’t religious, or lying to their base when they say it is. No, the problem is obviously the name. How about hiring an advertising agency to come up with a catchy name, logo, and slogan?
First, it was “teach Genesis” (Scopes), then “Scientific Creationism” and “equal time” (Edwards v. Aguillard), which morphed into “Intelligent Design”, which has cool-sounding buzzwords like “irreducible complexity” and “complex specified information”. Then, when push came to shove in Ohio and Pennsylvania, they had to admit that they didn’t have an actual lesson plan or anything that could be taught, and had to fall back on “teach the controversy.” Let’s just keep polishing that turd, shall we?
(Update, Jan. 9, 2006: Tom Toles has a cartoon about this.)
The comments are also enlightening. eswrite writes:
Rather than engaging in cute semantic games, I suggest we add some predictive power to ID, the sort that can be validated through empirical observation and/or experimentation. An ID test to distinguish random (pseudo) from actual (functional) DNA sequences (treating them as information streams) would do the trick. An ID test to distinguish coding and structurally significant portions of a genome from (allegedly) non-functional sections of the same would be huge. Give me the equations and sketched algorithm, and I’ll code it up. How does that sound?
Y’know, I think that’s a smashing idea! And it has immediate applications in biology. It’s fairly easy to sequence DNA (I believe a lot of labs treat it as scut-work to be relegated to grad students, though I think there are machines that’ll do it automatically). The hard work comes later, in trying to figure out which parts code for what. Being able to distinguish coding from non-coding DNA would be a boon to experimental biology.
But for some reason, no one seems to have taken eswrite up on his offer. I wonder why that is. Maybe Michael Behe, who made the term “irreducible complexity” popular in his 1996 book Darwin’s Black Box, might have some suggestions based on the research he’s done since then. Then again, he doesn’t seem to have done any such research, so maybe not. What’s with all the crickets?
Next, we have neurode’s comment:
If ID is rejected, it will be time for the ID movement to consider committing itself to a particular model. This, of course, may have political and financial repurcussions; the Wedge itself would be split, and this would leave some of its more intransigent supporters standing “outside the tent?????¦e.g., YEC proponents
This, to me, constitutes a clear admission that ID isn’t about searching for the truth, but rather about finding something–anything–wrong with mainstream science. If there really are mountains of evidence for ID (as Dembski claims elsewhere, why don’t IDists commit themselves to the model that this evidence points to?
Finally, we have Dembski’s comment
I’m convinced ID will succeed, and I believe the monicker ID will stick. The question is what to do in the short-term if the courts beat it down in the public schools. I hate seeing our youth dying on the vine, being indoctrinated into a materialistic worldview in the name of science. IE (intelligent evolution) may prove to be a useful stop-gap during the time that ID, let us hope not, gets trashed by the courts but, as now is looking ever more promising, succeeds scientifically.
Ah, I see now. It doesn’t matter whether ID is right or wrong. What matters is that the kids are being indoctrinated into materialism! We can’t have that! Won’t somebody think of the children?!