ID vs. Darwinism: Same evidence, different interpretations?
|July 22, 2006||Posted by O'Leary under Intelligent Design|
ID advocates and Darwinists can look at the same evidence and see different things. The recent National Geographic film March of the Penguins created a minor furore because some thought of it as pro-ID, though the filmmakers denied that.
One difficulty is that, denial or not, elements of the penguins’ behavior inevitably raise questions about Darwinism. However, some Darwinists respond to the problem simply by reinterpreting those elements along Darwinist lines.
For example, responding to the idea that the male penguins co-operate to share the body warmth, the well-known Steve Jones, professor of genetics at University College London, replies,
A group of penguins standing upright looks like co-operation, but in fact the ones on the outside are struggling to get in and those on the inside are trying to stand their ground: it’s a classic Darwinian struggle. The idea that the life of a penguin is any more beautiful than that of a malaria virus is absurd.
Actually, the book narrative and the film do not depict a classic Darwinian struggle. The book states that the male penguins, left alone with the eggs in a harsh climate while the females return to the ocean to feed, spiral in and out of their “turtle” formation, in a slow and orderly way, taking their fair turn in the warm center of the huddle:
The males can be aggressive the rest of the year. But they are docile and cooperative now, united to protect the eggs and survive the cold. Each takes turns getting warm by spending time near the center of the turtle. The huddled mass coils around itself in an undulating spiral. The penguins on the outside move in toward the center, the ones on the inside go outward. And this rotation happens very gently in order to safeguard the eggs. (p. 75)
So the French polar team on the site saw a completely different scene from Steve Jones!
The French polars may support “evolution,” as they say (but so?). But they are clearly not convinced Darwinists, as is Jones, or they would see a struggle of the fittest for survival, just as Jones did. As my co-author Mario Beauregard (Harper San Francisco, 2007) likes to say, quoting the Talmud, “You do not see life as it is. You see it as you are.”
Note: A biologist friend writes me to say that
… there IS no “malaria virus.” Malaria is caused by a protozoan, a parasite. Biologically speaking, it’s even further removed from being a virus than a bacterium. If Darwinist Steve Jones actually said what’s quoted above, he’s surprisingly ignorant.
Of course, Jones may have been misquoted by the reporter. After all, a New York Times reporter recently quoted Discovery Institute’s Steve Meyer as referring to “biblical science,” when he actually said “biological science.” (It’s the second item.)
In any event, Jones has announced that he has given up trying to persuade “creationists” , because he fears being quoted out of context or accused of lying. So I don’t suppose he will be in any mood to discuss any of this.