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Is ID Going Mainstream in the Popular Culture?

ID often seems to be a perspective that is associated with science, philosophy, academics, and people who deal in ideas for a living. For its supporters it can sometimes feel like a lonely road, and for its opponents it can appear as an irritating, but minority view. But is it possible that ID is breaking out of these confines and becoming an idea that is being echoed elsewhere in the popular culture? By the term “popular culture”, I do not mean the entertainment industry, or opinions propagated via media outlets. I mean the real, serious, fabric of our civilization. Here are a couple of straws in the wind.

I am not sure how many readers of UD work on Wall Street, but those who do may well be familiar with the company Interactive Brokers. This company offers a variety of technologies for trading financial instruments, commodities, etc. One of these is called IB Smartrouting which searches for the best prices for an order . The company has developed the following slogan for IB Smartrouting:

“Intelligent Design that even Darwin could appreciate”

This slogan is trademarked to Interactive Brokers. Take a look at Interactive Brokers

Why would an important company take the trouble to develop and then trademark a slogan like this, unless it had significant meaning for the vast majority of its target market?

Another straw in the wind is something I have heard at conferences on information technology. There is a widespread perception that over the past 30 years enterprises have create large IT infrastructures that are now impossible to manage. When you hear about “lack of transparency” in the current financial crisis, it is in part due to the fact that nobody understands how to get data out of IT architectures unless these architectures explicitly provide it. But I digress. The cause of the mess is held to be “organic growth”. Some speakers and writers are now using the term “evolution”. One very famous speaker uses phrases like “How do you think you are going to get this stuff right – by evolution?” The implication is that evolution represents lack of planning, lack of design, and inevitably leads to a gigantic mess. In other words, evolution is a bad thing – it creates chaos. The technologicists in the audiences get it.

Straws in the wind? Signs of things to come? Maybe. But the idea of ID is surely percolating far and wide.

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14 Responses to Is ID Going Mainstream in the Popular Culture?

  1. It has been my experience that if you say something positive about ID (or saying that you doubt Darwinism), people will look at you like you are either slow, a religious fanatic or just plain nuts.

    This is a positive sign though. Thanks Alfred for bringing this to the attention of the UD Community.

  2. This site is a blessing. ID proponents and supporters are not nearly as isolated as they would be without it.

  3. One of the journals where Bob Marks and I are getting our pro-ID information-theory papers published focuses on information technology.

    Yes, ID has a natural home in the engineering sciences. Engineering is about designing things so that they work. Evolutionary biology is about imagining how things might work.

  4. This is anecdotal, but someone I work with brought up the subject of intelligent design this past weekend. I was surprised that it was SOMEONE ELSE bringing up the subject. He had heard of ID and was sympathetic and wanted to know more.

    I’m not in a scientific field (I’m an airline pilot). This is the first time someone has broached the subject of ID with me so maybe inroads are being made in the wider culture?

  5. In my field of optical instrumentation, here is something I came across recently:

    http://www.wyatt.com/company/m.....215;11.pdf

    I’m not associated with Wyatt so I can’t speak for them, but I suspect that instrumentation is a congenial industry for ID supporters to work in: as WD says at #3, we have to design things that actually work rather than speculating about how other things may have been made to work.

  6. Platonist: “This site is a blessing. ID proponents and supporters are not nearly as isolated as they would be without it.”

    Ditto. Learning more here than any other website dealing with ID or ND. Frank, professional exchanges on both sides cannot be found anywhere else IMO.

    Kudos to all the folks at UD.

  7. Why “Intelligent Design that even Darwin could appreciate”? Because Darwin was a very smart fellow in investing his monies.

  8. For my course in Logic & Reasoning, we were required to take a small survey, the results of which are here: http://www.surveymonkey.com/Re.....0600739687

    Take a look at question #13.

  9. Oramus,

    Agreed. This by far the politess blog on the web. Even though once in a awhile most of us have a bad day or two.

    Anyway, thank you for the kind words. Always nice to read good things. Hope everyone is having a good day.

  10. @Barb: !

  11. 11

    Barb @8,

    Interesting responses, but how were the ‘averages’ calculated? Something looks strange: taking question 13 for example, one would expect the ‘rating average’ to be ((106×5) + (102×4) +…)/369, which is 3.47. The figure given, 2.53, suggests that the average was weighted towards the Darwinist end which clearly isn’t the case.

  12. *sniff* Where’d my message go?

  13. Slightly off-topic, but if any contributor to this Website can improve on the metaphors currently used to describe DNA, it would certainly help to make ID theory mainstream:

    http://www.newscientist.com/ar.....r-dna.html

  14. For fun, but FURTHER OFF-TOPIC:

    A left-handed metaphor for DNA is . . . “The Canterbury Tales”

    The Canterbury Tales are written down, but meant to be spoken, and spelled phonetically; some of the same words are spelled differently in different places to best fit the rhyme, sense and meter. The tales are framed (a meta-narrative is woven in). They are grouped into discrete fragments whose order is arguable, but whose stories are inter-related, some are written in rhyme royal; most are not; the deca-syllable helps us navigate or read them, but does not explicate them. Some tales are based on but unique from an earlier chemistry, they are of different uses, at odds with each other, messy, building on different themes and used for different goals within the framework.

    DNA is written out, but far more interesting to see in action. Scientists have found genes that are co-dominant, partially dominant, homologous etc . . . you’ve got your protein builders, hox genes, and then a big set of “junk” DNA which turns out may be super important (see the Parson’s Tale, yes, the one nobody ever reads . . .), we understand the structure of DNA, but that doesn’t tell us how its meaning was built in, we see patterns but they are broken, and the mutations get to come along, we’ve mapped the whole thing, but still don’t know how it fits together . . .

    Both the Canterbury Tales and DNA are epic, authored and open . . .

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