While Christianity Today is not a magazine I read regularly I caught this little article on John Lynch's 'A Simple Prop' blog, something I do read on a regular basis. He linked to an article there by Karl Giberson, director of Gordon College's Forum on Faith and Science. The article "Intelligent Design: Find a Fertile Idea" is one of three that try and offer suggestions on ways intelligent design can gain academic currency.
The first article in the trilogy was by Stephen C. Meyer, author of that disaster "Signature in the Cell" and one of those disreputable Discovery Institute ideologists. Meyer said his usual mishmash of defensiveness. I was not surprised at his opening:
Asking what advocates of intelligent design must do to gain credibility in the academy is a bit like asking a man when he stopped beating his wife. Such a question makes a prejudicial assumption.Meyer tries once again to convince people that ID has any credibility at all in the scientific community. Tell me how credible is a concept who's own supporters fail to do any actual work to support their idea. The majority of the time they are trying denigrate Evolution rather than promote ID. I'll close this blog entry with another example of Meyer's poor personal credibility, but first on to the other two articles in the trilogy.
It is one thing to argue that an object or organism is designed. But then comes the question of how and when the design was implemented (and also by whom). Because ID is minimalistic, a number of options are available. Was the design implemented over a multibillion-year history of Earth, or in six rotational days several thousand years ago? Was it worked out through a genetic unfolding of a single information-rich cell, or through designed interventions within evolutionary lineages, or by separate, ex nihilo creations? Various ID proponents offer different answers, but none speaks for ID itself, because if one perspective were widely accepted, the other members would be forced to leave the tent.In my opinion Ross' first mistake was not starting with the basics. Prove design and then you can deal with the different members standing under the tent. Obviously that has not happened at all. Ross does state something that I disagree with. Since when have
" . . . proponents have made progress in advancing design-detection methods, and have been modestly successful in applying them to real biological systems . . ."I certainly haven't seen any actual progress, certainly not by anyone from the Discovery Institute or Liberty University. If he is thinking Meyer's book is progress, he needs to relearn that progress is considered forward, Meyer's book took his buddies in the opposite direction, so much so that they [the DI] are already publishing a book to address all the criticism. (PZ Myers Pharyngula blog reports "The Discovery Institute is desperately patching Meyer's mind-numbing magnum opus") To bad they don't address the cause for the criticism, instead they seem to want to attack the critics. Typical Dishonesty Institute tactic.
This is a familiar theme I read about constantly. Most critics of the ID political and marketing movement have been asking for this for 20 years. I like to put it a little more succinctly:
I would love to see ID redirect its energies to developing a genuinely fertile idea. Stop trying to prove that Darwin caused the Holocaust or that evolution is ruining Western civilization. Agree among yourselves that the earth is old, since science has proven that. Do not call world-class scientists "cranks," as Meyer implies in Signature in the Cell. Do not claim that evolution is collapsing, when everyone in the field knows it isn't. Stop claiming that you cannot get your work published in conventional journals when you aren't submitting papers to these journals.
Instead, roll up your sleeves and get to work on the big idea. Develop it to the point where it starts spinning off new insights into nature so that we know more because of your work. Then the academy will welcome you with open arms. Science loves rebels.
Quit whining and do some science -- real science not make believe!
Speaking of Meyer again, here is another quote from his article:
First, the scientific community is not uniformly opposed to ID. My recent book on the subject received enthusiastic endorsements from many scientists not previously known as advocates of ID, such as chemist Philip Skell, a National Academy of Sciences member, and Norman Nevin, one of Britain's top geneticists.In my humble opinion Stephen C. Meyer is a liar. According to this quote Meyer states that Philip Skell and Norman Nevin were not previously advocates of Intelligent Design. Let's set the record straight, Skell is a Signatory of the very discredited "A Dissent From Darwinism", the list used in Discovery Institute intelligent design campaigns in an attempt to discredit evolution and bolster claims that intelligent design is scientifically valid by claiming that evolution lacks broad scientific support. Meyer is a liar, Skell may not have published a pro-ID fluff piece, but he is an advocate. Nevin is a supporter of "Truth in Science" a United Kingdom-based organization which promotes the "Teach the Controversy" campaign. It uses this strategy to try to get intelligent design taught alongside evolution in school science lessons. Meyer is once again, in my opinion, lying!
Now maybe Meyer should work on his own credibility before claiming how credible Intelligent Design within the scientific community. How can anyone believe a word he says?
But back to the gist of this trilogy and my blog entry -- I think it's time for the DI to get off the pot. How can ID gain acceptance, or as the articles put it 'academic currency'. I believe it's too late for that. ID is an idea that has failed and started failing when Philip E. Johnson wrote the Wedge Strategy Document. It's time the ID proponents faced facts and ID, as a way to get Creationism re-introduced to the science classroom in public schools, is an abject failure. I know they won't, but I can hope.
If they need any more incentive, John Lynch, and the NCSE also reported that the last two anti-evolution bills have died. Two bills introduced in South Carolina have died in committee.