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“Intelligent Evolution” — If the courts rule against ID …

There are now a number of initiatives nationally in which evolution is being challenged and ID promoted. What would happen if the courts rule against ID, declaring it religion? In the long term, this prospect is of little consequence because the momentum is now with ID and the inertia with evolution. Don’t be distracted by the “thousands” of articles being published in the research journals that purport to support evolutionary theory — this is an artifact of overfunding an underachieving theory. Throw enough money at an inherently flawed idea, and people will write thousands of articles about it showing that the flaws really don’t exist.

I therefore offer the following proposal if ID gets outlawed from our public schools: retitle it Intelligent Evolution (IE). The evolution here would be reconceived not as blind evolution but as technological evolution. Nor would it be committed to Darwin’s idea of descent with modification. But, hey, it would still be evolution, and evolution can be taught in schools. In fact, I think I’ll title my next book Intelligent Evolution: The Mindful Deviation of Evolutionary Pathways. Perhaps this book has already been written.

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25 Responses to “Intelligent Evolution” — If the courts rule against ID …

  1. Bill,

    It is my personal belief that if ID ever wins out it will be on the terms that “evolutionary theory” isn’t considered so much wrong as “misguided” (by the mainstream of course).

    As you well know, this concept of “Design” (a non-reductionist explanation) puts fear in the hearts of committed secularists, which is why renaming ID to IE might be the next (and probably final) evolutionary step (intelligently evolved I might add) in making the “principles” of the current ID movement mainstream.

    Benjamin Waters
    http://www.reflections-on-reality.blogspot.com
    http://www.dualisticdissension.blogspot.com

  2. An excellent point. In light of the possibility that Plan A will fail, there should always be a Plan B.

    However, if Plan B were to simply call for a probabilistic comparison between the evolutionary process and the design process (as opposed to an ID-style probabilistic comparison between “evolved” objects and “designed” objects), then this has already been accomplished by you and others. On the probabilistic level of reasoning, to compare evolved and designed objects is to implicitly compare the hypothetical processes which led up to them. Thus, absent new fundamental reasoning – a whole new model, spelled out in appreciable logical and mechanistic detail – “Intelligent Evolution” would constitute a mere reformulation of ID, and would no doubt be legally suppressed on that precedent.

    If ID is rejected, it will be time for the ID movement to consider committing itself to a particular model. This, of course, may have political and financial repurcussions; the Wedge itself would be split, and this would leave some of its more intransigent supporters standing “outside the tent”…e.g., YEC proponents, and those metaphorically-challenged individuals who insist that a large, white-bearded entity, sitting on a throne residing on a heavenly plane far above this one, meditated for a while, reached down to Earth, sculpted the first human form of clay, and breathed life into it. (Despite its possible metaphorical validity, this excessively literalized “model” is clearly religious in nature and presents a natural target for logical and scientific criticism.)

    In that dire event, it will be most interesting to see whether the ID movement is spiritually, intellectually, and organizationally capable of rallying, given that this would require it to explicitly support a particular model that some current ID proponents may find unacceptable.

    My hopes are with ID.

  3. I thought about that for a book title a few months ago. Someone beat us both to it by 8 years…

    http://www.isisdigitech.com/in.....lution.pdf

    The liberals on the USSC don’t have the cajones at this point to drive a stake in ground about ID. Witness the recent pair of 5-4 decisions rendered about 10 Commandment displays in public places. The first said that two Kentucky courthouses must remove framed paper renderings of the 10 commandments but that any other cases must be adjudicated individually. Irony meters around the country recorded near record levels as the majority justices pondered the frieze of Moses holding the 10 Commandments that hangs in the Supreme Court itself. The second 5-4 decision ruled that a 6 foot granite statue of the 10 Commandments that rests on the capital building lawn in Texas is not unconstitutional.

    Now how likely is it that 5-4 split decisions over something as clearly religious as the ten commandments, and the splits split both ways in two parallel cases, is going to split against something as unreligious as the biology textbook sticker in Georgia? To coin a phrase, not a snowball’s chance in hell the USSC is going to uphold the ridiculous lower court decision by Clinton appointee Justice Clarence Cooper. It’ll take a couple years to wend its way upward to the USSC.

    Next consider the current occupant of the Whitehouse who is likely to nominate at least two USSC justices over the next 3.5 years and certainly including the appointment of a new chief justice. He’s got a rubber-stamp congress ready to, if necessary, nuke the parliamentary procedure of filibuster on judicial advise and consent in order to ensure Bush’s nominees get the courtesy of an up/down vote. Once Bush gets any one of the 5 liberal justices replaced it’s all over but the crying for the remainder of the morally bankrupt liberal agenda in the United States of America. The USSC is the last bastion of liberalism. Their real Waterloo. It’s almost a done deal. The adults have just about completed taking the country back from the 1960′s flower children. I’ve been waiting for the coming of this day since 1992 when Clinton managed to somehow sneak into the Whitehouse with a plurality created by spoiler Ross Perot. What an ugly day in history that was…

  4. Bill,

    You could always pull a “Dawkins” with your next book. In “The Ancestor’s Tale” Dawkins didn’t want to do the evolutionary narrative from past to present because he didn’t want it to appear that the story ends with humans. So he starts with humans and goes backward in time.

    How about if you start with mildly futuristic human genetic engineers creating unique lifeforms using point & click on an engineering workstation connected to a gene splicing machine and work backward in time but never giving up the genetic engineering meme. Call it “The Engineer’s Tale”. I can see the steam rising in Oxford even now. Oh how sweet it could be!

  5. Thanks Dave for all your insights. Fortunately, titles cannot be copyrighted, so I’ll be sure to recycle this one.

  6. Bill, why do you think ID will be rejected.

  7. I’m convinced ID will succeed, and I believe the monicker ID will stick. The question is what to do in the short-term if the courts beat it down in the public schools. I hate seeing our youth dying on the vine, being indoctrinated into a materialistic worldview in the name of science. IE (intelligent evolution) may prove to be a useful stop-gap during the time that ID, let us hope not, gets trashed by the courts but, as now is looking ever more promising, succeeds scientifically.

  8. This is quite humourous actually. If our ‘naturally selected’ trademark idea ID doesn’t work, we’ll ‘evolve’ it into something else, IE. It’s just one letter in the alphabet, after all.

    “not as blind evolution but as technological evolution.” – WAD

    So you believe in ‘technological evolution,’ oh yes, we knew this already.

    But I’m wondering, does this mean your Movement will redefine ‘intelligence’ in it’s own image?

  9. The problem is with the “I” not the “D”, so replacing the latter with an “E” will not cut it. If ID gets thrown out the courts it will because the “I” points to a divinity, hence, the alleged injection of such a being into the science curriculm.

    Rather than engaging in cute semantic games, I suggest we add some predictive power to ID, the sort that can be validated through empirical observation and/or experimentation. An ID test to distinguish random (pseudo) from actual (functional) DNA sequences (treating them as information streams) would do the trick. An ID test to distinguish coding and structurally significant portions of a genome from (allegedly) non-functional sections of the same would be huge. Give me the equations and sketched algorithm, and I’ll code it up. How does that sound?

  10. 10

    eswrite,
    if you don’t like the word “intelligent” try “intentional”. You get to keep the “I” and in one fell swoop it does away with the evolutionist argument of what they call the “unintelligent” designs of bioligical systems. Design is, by definition, always ‘intentional’ but not always perfect. Just witness anything designed by man. Nothing designed by man is perfect. Biological systems are not perfect, therefore need not have been designed by an omniscient designer. Adding “evolution” to it as Dr. Dembski has may very well make it the game winner. “Intentional Evolution” may be the steamroller the lawyers need to finally break the courts.
    Cheers,
    Dennis Grey

  11. 11

    And it should go without saying that ‘intentional’ implies a guiding hand, and one without the baggage of divinity suggested by ‘intelligent’
    Cheers,
    Dennis Grey

  12. JA Davison uses the term “Prescribed Evolution” in his paper “A Prescribed Evolutionary Hypothesis” recently published Rivista.

    “Directed Evolution” is another possibility. It’s in rather widespread use but not in reference to historic biology.

    I tend to agree “intelligent” is what sets off the judicial activism. We’re just one heart attack away from having the judicial activists marginalized and I’d rather just wait for that instead of rolling over. I doubt any trivial retitling of ID will work to mollify the church/state separation extremists in any case.

  13. Science is the means of testing validity and accuracy of human perceptions. Accurate perceptions are valid independently of political approval (ask Galileo). Intelligent Design describes the evidence we find in reality and politics is exactly the type of perception pollution that makes “science” unscientific (look at Darwinism).

    Zero Mass,
    Lee

  14. [...] ; My love affair with Lisp ID Falling Apart? William Dembski has an article on his weblog about what to d [...]

  15. [...] 17;s just keep polishing that turd, shall we? The comments are also enlightening. eswrite writes: Rather than engaging in cute semantic games, I suggest we add some pre [...]

  16. Oolong:

    Speaking polishing turds did you read the replacement theories for neoDarwinism offered up by “2005 Woodstock of Evolution” star speakers, evolutionary biologistsw extraordinaire William Provine and Lynn Margulis?

    It’s a MUST read…

    http://www.sciam.com/article.c.....38;catID=4

    It’s long and has big words in it. If you need help with it email me at [email protected]

  17. I hate seeing our youth dying on the vine, being indoctrinated into a materialistic worldview in the name of science.

    How, exactly, does rejection of supernatural explanations imply youth dying on the vine? Ever since I read the CRSC’s early “What is Materiaism” FAQ I’ve wondered what are the real-world consequences of high school students learning only non-supernatural theories of biology?

  18. I’ve wondered what are the real-world consequences of high school students learning only non-supernatural theories of biology?

    Actually I wonder what the consequences of exposing them to the idea that intelligence is a natural attribute of nature and not a supernatural thing of some sort. It seems melodramatic to suppose this would lead to the collapse of modern civilization. I’m wondering if it will lead to the collapse of anything at all other than the collapsing of egos of scientists dogmatically opposed to it.

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  21. Why not go one furthur, and use the title IF? Shouldn’t be too much of a problem sharing the title with the movie. As for the the courtroom problems with the ten commandments, keep taking the tablets.

  22. I agree, a new name is just what the theory needs to win over the mainstream. Where else could we possibly be going wrong? We know the idea has a rock solid foundation, the Bible itself, so effort spent making observations and testing the theory is redundant.

    eswrite, reading your comment made me squirm with discomfort. What were you thinking? We don’t need to make predictions with ID. Who are you trying to convince, scientists? No. We just need to show how another theory doesn’t explain everything, to cast doubt in the mind of the public, especially members of school boards since it is of primal importance (I mean, hey, why else are we doing this?) that children grow up believing in God.

  23. wb4: Assuming sarcasm, that’s warning #1 for yet another mischaracterization argument. If you’re actually serious I suggest reading the paperback version of The Design Revolution since your ideas about ID are incorrect.

  24. “I think at a fundamental level, in terms of what drives me in this is that I think God’s glory is being robbed by these naturalistic approaches to biological evolution, creation, the origin of the world, the origin of biological complexity and diversity. When you are attributing the wonders of nature to these mindless material mechanisms, God’s glory is getting robbed. [...] And so there is a cultural war here. Ultimately I want to see God get the credit for what he’s done – and he’s not getting it.”

    Who said that?

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