Badger-Baiting and the Demise of Evolutionary Theory
|June 27, 2005||Posted by William Dembski under Evolution, Intelligent Design|
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 weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢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.