Home » Culture, Darwinism » The last five years: Darwin’s failures are positive sources of information for ID

The last five years: Darwin’s failures are positive sources of information for ID

Responding to “How far has ID come in the last five years?”, locally famous commenter markf responds,

Every single one of those headlines is about “Darwinism” and “Darwinists” (whoever they are – their most important common characteristic appears to be they are government funded which rules me out).

Looking at the detail on the posts the only positive achievement I can see for ID is the controversial Dembski and Marks paper. All the rest is about perceived failures of this Darwinism.

Which is an excellent demonstration of missing the point. Failures of Darwinism are not merely a negative. They are a positive. The growing number of stress points at which Darwinism fails can, taken together, form a picture, one that points to general laws that govern how high levels of information are produced in life forms. Obviously, as with dpi, the more such points, the clearer the picture. We can’t have too many of them, though eventually, there will be enough to work productively with.

Michael Behe’s Edge of Evolution is an instance of this approach. The upper limit on the change toward greater functional complexity that can be produced by Darwinism is telling us something.

Naturally, the people who have a vested interest in defending Darwinism (and most are publicly funded) work to undermine such a project and demand loyalty to Darwin. But a critical feature of the last five years has been the loosening of their capacity to censor, to shut down work in this area, as their recent setbacks have demonstrated. It’s not looking so good any more to be one of Darwin’s Rottweilers.

Dealing with Darwinian theory is like dealing with superstition: No set of facts could ever amount to refutation. A key Darwinist is supposed to have quipped long ago that he would doubt – if fossil rabbits were discovered in the Cambrian. Isn’t it far more likely that he’d proclaim the fossil rabbits as “Brilliant demonstration of the power of the theory?” Actually, something like fossil rabbits have been discovered in the Cambrian and, what did I tell you – it’s still “anti-science” to doubt Darwin. Put another way, if it’s Darwin, it will always be science to his devotees.

And the first stage of the ID community’s work continues.

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9 Responses to The last five years: Darwin’s failures are positive sources of information for ID

  1. I will slightly expand on the comment I made on the other thread.

    If ID can only measure its progress through objections to “Darwinism” then how is progress in ID different from progress in any other creationist movement such as AIG? (Or progress in alternative materialist explanations such as Lamarckism )

  2. 2

    markf asks: “If ID can only measure its progress through objections to “Darwinism” . . .

    I have to hand it to you Mark. It takes real verve to cram two significant fallacies into just the opening clause of one sentence!

    Fallacy One: Scare quotes around “Darwinism.” It really is getting tiresome for those on your side to pretend that “Darwinism” is not a word commonly used to describe, well, your side. As has been demonstrated numerous times on this site, it is. Get over it.

    Fallacy Two: Suggesting that O’Learly claims that ID is purely negative. She never made any such claim. Certainly if one considers the choices to be “two and only two” — i.e., certain features of things are either (a) designed or (b) not designed, to the extent that it is more probable that (b) is false it is necessarily to that same extent more probable that (a) is true. Nevertheless, as I pointed out in the post linked below, ID also makes positive claims.

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ign/18663/

  3. “Dealing with Darwinian theory is like dealing with superstition: No set of facts could ever amount to refutation. A key Darwinist is supposed to have quipped long ago that he would doubt if fossil rabbits were discovered in the Cambrian. Isn;’t it far more likely that he’d proclaim the fossil rabbits as “Brilliant demonstration of the power of the theory?” Actually, something like fossil rabbits have been discovered in the Cambrian and, what did I tell you – it’s still “anti-science” to doubt Darwin.”

    –I very much doubt that that would be Haldane’s response.

    The discovery that the fossil record correlates with the taxonomic tree was one of the first and most persuasive arguments for evolution. Discovering rabbits from the Precambrian would smash the apparent correlation between the taxonomic tree and the fossil record, and mean that the apparent correlation was all one big (remarkable beyond words) coincidence and also, presumably, that the taxonomic tree is telling us nothing of how species are actually related or came to be.

    It should be pretty clear how finding a modern family of mammals that not only predates all other mammals, but predates all reptiles, and all amphibians, and even all vertebrates and the phylum of Chordata would mean to the evolutionary tree.

    In what way does finding billion year old non-marine eukaryotes do anything of this sort? How is it at all analogous to finding rabbits in the Precambrian (even if it is meant tongue-in-cheek)?

    What is the earliest that such organisms should appear in the fossil record?

    It’s generally believed that there were non-marine cyanobacteria long before eukaryotes. Looking around at when scientists believe eukaryotes first appeared, it looks like it ranges anywhere from about 2.1 – 2.7 billion years ago. So it doesn’t seem shocking to me that such organisms managed to leave marine environments by 1 billion years ago (the only surprise to me is that they took so long – I wouldn’t be surprised if much older ones are found).

    I doubt that the reason that scientists were surprised at finding non-marine eukaryotes that early had anything to do with the taxonomic or evolutionary trees. Based on what I can find, it looks like the only reason for any surprise in this case is that these non-marine eukaryotes predate other finds of non-marine eukaryotes.

    That’s it.

    That’s the only reason.

    It has nothing to do with any evolutionary predictions of when they should first appear.

  4. Barry –

    1) It is unusual to describe the use of scare quotes as a fallacy. But let me explain why I use them round Darwinism. You say it refers to “your side” but that covers an enormous range of roles and beliefs. It might be restricted to professional evolutionary biologists but it might also be expanded to include a variety of groups right up to anyone who believes that life arose through material causes. It might include those who think that random variation plus natural selection was the main driver of evolutionary change or it might include those who think that other factors such as epigenetics and genetic drift are major elements. People on this forum regularly play on these ambiguities e.g. by suggesting that epigenetics is a evidence against “Darwinism” and therefore evidence for ID. Or by suggesting that “Darwinists” are mostly taxpayer funded. Well it all depends what you mean by “Darwinism”.

    2) I don’t think I made any suggestions about what Denyse was claiming. I think it most unlikely that she would claim ID was purely negative!

    However, your point is interesting. It seems you are suggesting that the ID argument is:

    “known non-design alternatives for life are wrong therefore life was designed”

    I think this is a good summary of the ID argument but do you really support it? I have spent hours hearing from people on the ID side protesting that this is not the case. They claim there is positive evidence for design as well as evidence against “Darwinism”.

  5. The argument is there aren’t any known blind, undirected processes known to produce living organisms, living organisms match the criteria used to detect design, therefor living organisms were designed.

  6. Again the thing with Darwinism is Newton’s First Rule- namely no need for a designer when nature, operating freely can account for it.

    IOW no need for intelligent design if darwinian processes can produce it.

  7. 7

    Mark, you obviously did not follow the link I provided. Otherwise you would not have written this comment. You can lead a Darwinist to facts and evidence, but you can’t . . .

  8. It’s that darn blind spot…

  9. You are right – for some reason I never read your last sentence. I apologise. It was late at night. The point about scare quotes still stands.

    On the subject of positive progress – of course the problem is that information as defined by ID is measured negatively – by the perceived failure of known natural causes. So you can’t make a positive case out of identifying information. Which is I guess why Denyse is unable to point to any positive progress for ID. In fact I wonder what positive progress would look like?

    Meanwhile – does anyone want to answer my question:

    If ID can only measure its progress through objections to “Darwinism” then how is progress in ID different from progress in any other creationist movement such as AIG? (Or progress in alternative materialist explanations such as Lamarckism )

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