Home » Evolution, Intelligent Design » Badger-Baiting and the Demise of Evolutionary Theory

Badger-Baiting and the Demise of Evolutionary Theory

In my last post (Timetable for the mainstreaming of ID), I described my meeting yesterday with a Nobel laureate and one of his colleagues who is also a top U.S. scientist. Both were deeply skeptical of conventional evolutionary theory and both took seriously the possibility of ID being mainstreamed, with the Nobel laureate seeing it happening as soon as five years from now. This blog entry elicited the following remark at Talk.origins:

Yeah, right, I’ll believe it when I see it. And even if it is true, so what? If you want to play the numbers game, two scientists who believe evolution is bankrupt against how many hundreds of thousands who believe the field is flourishing? What is more likely is that ID will wither way through lack of any evidence in a few years, although that won’t stop the Christianists.

Numbers game? I’m pointing out a new phenomenon: scientists of the highest caliber in the highest echelon starting to take seriously the possibility that evolution (i.e., chemical evolution/origin of life as well as macroevolution) are bankrupt and ID will soon be mainstreamed. That is a new development. If you disagree, point me to a young-earth creationist in the past few decades who was a Nobel laureate in a discipline appropriate for assessing the claims of evolutionary theory — I don’t know any.

The two scientists I met with yesterday are indeed in the relevant scientific disciplines. I expect within the next twelve months we’ll have a conference in which they will come out in the open with their views (the wheels are already in motion for such a conference).

My meeting yesterday convinces me that the future of evolutionary theory is that it has no future. The image that I think captures its coming demise at the hands of ID is that of a badger-baiting. Badger-baitings used to be quite common in England. One takes a badger and lets dogs loose on it. The badger starts out immensely strong and fierce. The dogs that initially nip at it get bitten and horribly maimed.

But after a while the badger tires and the dogs get in a few lucky nips. Eventually they draw blood. The rest take heart and the badger is no more. In this parable, the badger represents the materialistic evolutionists. The dogs represent not so much ID proponents as the rest of the scientific community that will be only too happy to vanquish a reigning scientific theory if they can do so safely and in the process make a name for themselves.

However wrong Darwin might have been about selection and competition as the driving force behind biological evolution, these forces certainly drive scientific progress. It’s up to ID proponents to draw blood by showing a few incontrovertible instances where design is fruitful for biology and thereby by bringing about some major league defections (like the two scientists with whom I met). Scientists without an inordinate attachment to conventional evolutionary theory (and there are many, though this fact is not widely advertised) will then finish the job.

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3 Responses to Badger-Baiting and the Demise of Evolutionary Theory

  1. Bill,

    In regard to “incontrovertable instances where design is fruitful” I’m having the same problem with that as Phil Skell talked about in relation to historical biology:

    Skell interview published at http://www.idurc.org/interviews/skell0605.htm

    4. You have spoken about a “historical biology” being separate from an “experimental biology.” Could you please elaborate on the distinction?

    Modern biology is engaged in examining the structures and functions of tissues from live organisms; it is the most prolific and important branch of all the sciences. Historical biology has only the minuscule fragments of our ancestors, fossils, for examination. They are stones, not tissues. The geologists provide a reasonable time line, but minuscule evidence about their function, zero evidence for the “transit” from one species to another. The claim for “mountains of evidence” is a disingenuous lie. The modern biology, demonstrably, makes no use of the historical biology; at times the historical is an encumbrance on the modern.

    I completely agree with Skell here and find the claims of evolutionists that historic biology underpins all thought and progress in modern biology to be laughable in the extreme.

    Given that instances of ID are incontrovertably identified how will that change “historical biology” in a way that makes it useful to what Skell calls “modern biology”?

    It seems to me ID represents at least a partial answer to perhaps the most important philosophical question of all time, one that has been asked since the dawn of thinking; “where do we come from”. As such it is worth pursuing just for that alone. As well there’s certainly a huge motivation to topple the current theory and make a name for oneself in the process so I’m sure it will be pursued with increasing energy – scientists will smell blood and be attracted to it like sharks. But I don’t see the practical application any more than the practical application of the reigning narrative it would displace.

  2. “Yeah, right, I’ll believe it when I see it. And even if it is true, so what? If you want to play the numbers game…”

    The person who wrote that needs to understand that a small group of people can have an effect disproportional to their numbers. This is especially true when people in the “small” group are defectors.

    People have a sense that ideas, institutions, frameworks, etc, have tendencies over time to stagnate. Furthermore, they build upon prior assumptions or conditions that in time, are never re-challenged. To this backdrop, the minority group stands out and it much more visible, and people wonder…

  3. Well, Darwinism is totally status quo. Therefore, if one tries to debunk it, it would be like overthrowing the US government. However,there have been apostates over the last 20 years(Grasse, Kenyon and Denton). Nonetheless, inserting ID isn’t fruitful as of now. Simply because it isn’t a fully rigorous program. This doesn’t mean it will be in the future! I ultimately believe that ID will succeed. Yet, it’s still in it’s embryonic stages. Most ID proponents admit that anyways!

    What I love to see are highly trained scientists, like the former mentioned by Bill Dembski, who question darwinism profoundly. I believe there are more than 500 scientists as mustered by the Discovery Institute who are completely skeptical, yet, don’t want to be included because of job endangerment. The list could possibly be a thousand.

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