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View Diary: The Comedy of Creationists: How Far Real Science Has Pushed Pseudo-Science (34 comments)

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  •  Recent article on innate lack of logic with ID (1+ / 0-)
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    Politics and A Beer

    Can Intelligence Bring Universes Into Being?

    By Jason Rosenhouse

    . . .

    One of Pitman’s talking points was the idea that natural selection is not capable in principle of crafting complex biochemical systems. Of course, this is standard fare for ID folks. Pitman made the claim that there is some level of functional complexity beyond which natural selection cannot go. His only actual argument for this was that a mechanism based on variation and selection has only been observed to produce relatively small amounts of complexity (leaving aside for the moment any questions of precisely how we define complexity.)

    A lot of ID writing is devoted to putting meat on the bones of this idea. Michael Behe’s notion of “irreducible complexity” and William Dembski’s notion of “complex specified information” were both intended to provide the missing “in principle” argument for why natural selection cannot produce complex systems. In neither case were these authors successful. Among people who understood some biology and mathematics, Behe and Dembski were quite properly laughed at, since their arguments were really quite bad.

    . . .

    So the situation is this: With regard to natural selection, we start with the fact that there is no theoretical reason why it cannot craft complex systems. Once you grant that selection has been observed to craft small increases in complexity in short periods of time–and how can you not–then it is hard to find an in principle argument for why it can’t craft more complex systems over longer periods of time. We also have the successes of evolutionary algorithms in solving problems in engineering and medicine, as well as computer simulations of evolution, to serve as a proof of concept. Moving on, for many concrete systems we have strong evidence for how they evolved gradually, and the fact that virtually every complex system studied to date shows clear vestiges of its evolutionary past. It is the universal experience of the scientists who do this work that complex biological systems are incomprehesible from the standpoint of engineering, but become comprehensible as soon as their histories are taken into account. And, most persuasive of all, you have the many practical successes of adaptationist reasoning in biology.

    ID folks respond to this by folding their arms, shaking their heads, and repeating ad nauseum that we have no evidence that natural selection can do what we say it can do.

    But when it comes to intelligence they are willing to make groundless extrapolations from what is seen to occur, and to hypothesize into existence an awesomely powerful supermind that can do just about anything with acts of its will. This they brazenly claim to be clearly the best explanation for the universe and for life, and they accuse scientists of rejecting it only because of their morbid, anti-religious bias.

    "So, please stay where you are. Don't move and don't panic. Don't take off your shoes! Jobs is on the way."

    by wader on Wed Jan 22, 2014 at 04:49:38 PM PST

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