Home » Intelligent Design » Textbook Watch: Did ID folk invent Marx, Freud, and Darwin as the “textbook triad” of materialism

Textbook Watch: Did ID folk invent Marx, Freud, and Darwin as the “textbook triad” of materialism

Discovery Institute notes the following from Douglas Futuyma’s Evolutionary Biology (1998, 3rd Ed., Sinauer Associates), p. 5:

Darwin showed that material causes are a sufficient explanation not only for physical phenomena, as Descartes and Newton had shown, but also for biological phenomena with all their seeming evidence of design and purpose. By coupling undirected, purposeless variation to the blind, uncaring process of natural selection, Darwin made theological or spiritual explanations of the life processes superfluous. Together with Marx’s materialistic theory of history and society and Freud’s attribution of human behavior to influences over which we have little control, Darwin’s theory of evolution was a crucial plank in the platform of mechanism and materialism…

This is especially interesting in view of the sometimes-heard claim that ID advocates invented the Marx-Freud-Darwin triad of materialist influences. That was unlikely in principle because, in order to communicate with a broad audience, the ID advocates had to riff off an already accepted cultural pattern. But this instance of the usage by a prominent pro-Darwin and anti-ID source demonstrates that the claim is incorrect. Which doesn’t mean you won’t hear it again and again – and again. I would be interested to know if this paragraph appears unaltered in the just-released 2006 edition, but Toronto Public Library seems to have nothing later than the 2nd edition.

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40 Responses to Textbook Watch: Did ID folk invent Marx, Freud, and Darwin as the “textbook triad” of materialism

  1. Freud wasn’t so much a materialist than a reductive determinist. His mental states weren’t exactly material. But what I would like to know is why is it that psychology has been able to learn from but mostly reject Freud, and economics has learned from but mostly rejected Marx, why can’t biology do the same with Darwin?

  2. “Darwin showed that material causes are a sufficient explanation not only for physical phenomena, as Descartes and Newton had shown, but also for biological phenomena with all their seeming evidence of design and purpose.”

    He starts off fine. Natural phenomena are explained by natural phenomena.

    “By coupling undirected, purposeless variation to the blind, uncaring process of natural selection, Darwin made theological or spiritual explanations of the life processes superfluous….. Darwin’s theory of evolution was a crucial plank in the platform of mechanism and materialism..”

    I think here he goes wrong. It would have been better for him to say that “By coupling processes without evidence of direction or purpose to the process of natural selection – which shows no evidence of sight or caring, ….”

    The remark that Darwin makes theological explanations superfluous was unnecessary since theological explanations just have no place in science, which is strictly naturalistic. Even if naturalistic explanations are inadequate, theological explanations cannot take the place of natural explanations because theological explanations are always inadequate in science. The super-natural or non-natural is just irrelevant and is to be ignored, since it cannot be tested for.

    Do you have a test of non-material phenomena?

    Darwin’s theory of evolution made the important step of freeing biology from it’s creationist assumptions and putting it within the boundaries of naturalist science where it belongs. What is wrong with that?

    I believe that most scientists reject Freud now because he was not sufficiently materialistic. That is he did not test his theories empirically. At least according to Frederic Crews.I like modern biology has moved beyond Darwin, modern psychology has moved beyond Freud.

  3. Darwin showed that material causes are a sufficient explanation not only for physical phenomena, as Descartes and Newton had shown, but also for biological phenomena with all their seeming evidence of design and purpose.

    I shudder when they claim Newton as a founder of their materialistic world view.

    This Newton on athiesm:

    Atheism is so senseless and odious to mankind that it never had many professors.

    Newton continues, making a case for intelligent design in nature by a single designer:

    Can it be by accident that all birds beasts and men have their right side and left side alike shaped (except in their bowels) and just two eyes and no more on either side the face and just two ears on either side the head and a nose with two holes and no more between the eyes and one mouth under the nose and either two fore legs or two wings or two arms on the shoulders and two legs on the hips one on either side and no more? Whence arises this uniformity in all their outward shapes but from the counsel and contrivance of an Author? Whence is it that the eyes of all sorts of living creatures are transparent to the very bottom and the only transparent members in the body, having on the outside an hard transparent skin, and within transparent juices with a crystalline Lens in the middle and a pupil before the Lens all of them so truly shaped and fitted for vision, that no Artist can mend them? Did blind chance know that there was light and what was its refraction and fit the eyes of all creatures after the most curious manner to make use of it? These and such like considerations always have and ever will prevail with man kind to believe that there is a being who made all things and has all things in his power and who is therefore to be feared.

  4. PaulM

    The super-natural or non-natural is just irrelevant and is to be ignored, since it cannot be tested for.

    Humans are intelligent agents. Humans are a natural phenomenon. Therefore intelligent agency is a natural phenomenon. So why is it not possible for science to consider intelligent agency?

  5. “Humans are intelligent agents. Humans are a natural phenomenon. Therefore intelligent agency is a natural phenomenon. So why is not possible for science to consider intelligent agency?”

    I did not say that intelligence cannot be considered. Of course it can. But there is no evidence that ID is trying to establish intelligence as a factor in biology or any other science through scientific tests.

    Every time I ask for an example of a scientific test for ID, I get a series of evasions. Not once has anyone given me a straight forward example of original research based on an ID hypothesis. Not once. The only responses I ever get are to: 1) give me an example of non-ID research, reinterpreted to conform to ID; 2) Attempts at debunking MET.

    For once, I would like an example of original ID research, in a form that a layman can understand.

    If I want to, I can look up any number of articles in Scientific American and find something that explains science to the layman. They tell me the hypotheses that were used and the tests (either experiments or field studies that were used in making those tests. For example, when I asked about the whole pre-Cambrian problem, I was directed to an article about some of the new Bilaterns that were found in China, bridging an important fossil gap. There is a wonderful article I read on the transitionals to the modern whale.). I do not have to pull teeth with the so called Darwinists. They tell me exactly where to go to find the tests that confirm or falsify a particular hypothesis derived from MET.

    So, tell me one article, just one, not an overly technical paper, that lays out an ID hypothesis and shows me the test that was used to try to falsify it. And please no Dembski. He does not do scientific experiments and is overly technical.

  6. “So, tell me one article, just one, not an overly technical paper, that lays out an ID hypothesis and shows me the test that was used to try to falsify it.”

    I’d also be interested in seeing this. I would expect that more working scientists would be prepared to read something that was stated in the typical methodology or language that they are used to at work anyway. And that’s what you want, right?
    If it does not convince, at least it’s been read rather then dropped straight away simply because it’s stating a different conclusion.

    Davescot, you said “So why is it not possible for science to consider intelligent agency?”

    Again, how would science via expermentation test for this? It’s not clear to me currently. You said that in response to paulm’s comment about the supernatural being untestable. How can you test the untestable? Is this the fundamental contradiction at the heart of ID?

  7. Jehu,

    That’s great from Newton. I have his book on Daniel and the Revelation—great stuff too.

    Paul M.,

    Why is it that those who support Darwinism—which makes no predictions other than that survivors survive and which has contributed absolutely NOTHING to science—why is it that they want ID to start making deterministic predictions like the physicists and suddenly cure cancer?

  8. “Why is it that those who support Darwinism—which makes no predictions other than that survivors survive and which has contributed absolutely NOTHING to science—why is it that they want ID to start making deterministic predictions like the physicists and suddenly cure cancer?” Rude

    MET does not say survivors survive. It says the more fit survive to reproduce in greater numbers than those that are less fit. Otherwise known as differential reproduction or natural selection.

    Actually, I do not want to get into defending MET. I will leave that to scientists. Are you admitting that there is no predictive power to ID? If so, you have just admitted that ID is not science. Please provide examples of ID testing, accessible to the layman.

  9. PaulV

    “You said that in response to paulm’s comment about the supernatural being untestable. How can you test the untestable? ”

    What makes you think the designer must be supernatural? I should think we first have to determine that the designer isn’t a natural intelligent agency. After all, we know that natural intelligent agents who can manipulate DNA exist. That would be us. Has it been demonstrated we’re the only intelligence the universe ever produced?

    If you can point out something about life that requires a supernatural designer I’ll agree with you. I’ve asked this question a million times and the best response I get is that it just seems like the designer must be supernatural. That doesn’t cut it. Near as I can tell nothing about life here on earth defies any physical laws or requires creator-of-universe type powers to cobble together.

  10. Dave, you are, of course, right that the designer doesn’t have to be supernatural. But, how would we ever know? After detecting design, ID doesn’t seek any information about the nature of the designer. It is unfortunate that ID scientists call it good right when they get to the really interesting question.

  11. The super-natural or non-natural is just irrelevant and is to be ignored, since it cannot be tested for.

    Which gets to the heart of the debate, once more illustrating why materialism is the epitomy of irrationality.

    The goal should be to find the truth. If God exist, it is beyond bizarre to say He should be ignored.

    Now, this is not putting restrictions on someone seeking a natural explaination for some event. This does require, however, that said natural explaination be found and demonstrated before thus claiming there is one.

  12. Paulm,

    Here’s a prediction. 1,000 or more diseases will be cured in the next 100 years by genetic engineering and 1 or less by variation and natural selection. I don’t know if that is a scientific prediction or not. How about, Galapagos Finches will get longer beaks in drought, but will return to their normal size when the drought abates leaving no net change.

  13. rrf

    ID doesn’t seek any information about the nature of the designer

    There are many other research programs aimed at finding signs of life and intelligence elsewhere in the universe. Science is compartmentalized.

    But, how would we ever know?

    Once you’ve eliminated the impossible, what remains, however improbable, is true. When and if all natural processes are exhausted as explanations then what remains is supernatural. But personally I’m of the opinion that intelligent design is a natural phenomenon and we’ll eventually discover intelligence can exist by natural means other than flesh & blood. Right now we’re still pretty clueless about the nature of intelligence and sentience. To put that in perspective reflect on the fact that we have no idea what makes up 75% of the “stuff” in the universe. That unknown stuff is called “dark energy” for lack of a better term. It’s not any kind of matter or energy that current physics knows about. Maybe intelligence can emerge from that unknown stuff just like it arised in us from the kind of matter we know about. Or maybe our intelligence actually comes from a source that isn’t ordinary matter & energy. A popular hypothesis on the nature of intelligence is that our brains act sort of like radios and serve to merely channel intelligence and self-awareness that comes from a source that isn’t made of the matter and energy we know about today.

  14. “There are many other research programs aimed at finding signs of life and intelligence elsewhere in the universe. Science is compartmentalized.” Dave Scott

    SETI is built on an observable model of intelligence from which we can make predictions. It is called human intelligence. It is just not difficult to predict that extra terrestrial intelligence might produce mathematics, literature, music, etc.

    But try making SETI predictions from an undefined intelligence. That would be a hoot. Really Dave, try it.

    What is this model of intelligence that has produced life? What predictions can we make from that model? Oh that is right. ID does not define the intelligence. It has no model from which to make predictions. Is that maybe why it is not science?

    If human intelligence is the model of intelligence from which ID proceeds, then we have something to work with. If a human like intelligence were at work in the universe what would we predict finding?

  15. I really should not waste my time with this but I will.

    If god is natural, then god can be empirically tested. And in fact God as an idea in human history can and is tested. Otherwise there could be no such thing as Bible scholarship.

    But any aspect of god that is supernatural, science is forced to be ignorant of, since it cannot detect the supernatural.

    I am really quite concerned that so many Americans do not understand that science cannot know the supernatural, the non-material.

  16. But any aspect of god that is supernatural, science is forced to be ignorant of, since it cannot detect the supernatural.

    And that’s fine as far as it goes.

    The first problem that has arisen, however, is the claim that “science” is the end of all debate.

    One should not try to live one’s life according to “scientific” principles such as treating God as irrelevant, or love as a mere aspect of biology or guilt as simply a psychological matter.

    The second problem concerns claims that certain occurances have natural causes when no cause has been observed.

  17. And why is the supernatural unknowable anyway? If something is not testable in the laboratory, then it is impossible to know? The supernatural-natural dichotomy is false. Are we to believe that if a supernatural being were to cause something to happen in the world that science could say nothing about it? If a stadium of people saw an angel, if some great miracle were to happen with a million witnesses that we perhaps could talk about it but just not in our public schools? Or without assuming there is a natural cause? Has athiesm become the only allowable ideal in science?

  18. paulm #15

    If you feel you are wasting your time it is because you are labouring under a misapprehension here. ID is attempting to study NATURE for signs of intelligence. Have you read any of the ID literature? Nobody is trying to do an experiment to detect God.

  19. paulm,

    “But any aspect of god that is supernatural, science is forced to be ignorant of, since it cannot detect the supernatural.”

    Define “supernatural”/”non-material”. You see, there is a big, wide world out there, and science has by no means exhausted our knowledge of it. Physicists don’t yet even know what an electron is, really. (Don’t argue with me about this, either, as a physicist at a local college specifically said this during a meeting I attended recently.) Was the “Big Bang” a “supernatural” event, paul? Can it be “analyzed”, its very beginning, by science?

    The “supernatural”, if it exists (it does), would not be anything more than “EXTRA-natural”. That is, the “natural” world that we think we understand would be only a limited subset of a wider reality, and that wider reality of which we are currently apparently normally unaware would have an order to it which most likely, in my opinion, could be “analyzed” to determine its “order”/rules. Much of the technology of today would seem “supernatural” to those from thousands and hundreds of years ago who investigated the natural world.

  20. paulm,

    “If human intelligence is the model of intelligence from which ID proceeds, then we have something to work with. If a human like intelligence were at work in the universe what would we predict finding?”

    Oooo, oooo – I know this one. If a “human-like” intelligence were at work in the universe, we would predict finding “human-like” evidence. (Boy, that was easy.)

    paul, you seem to assume that there is nothing about “intelligent activity” which is “divorceable” from its actual source. Do you think that scientists are impotent when it comes to discerning whether some animals – such as dolphins, elephants, and chimpanzees – exhibit “human-like” intelligence? How do you define “human-like” intelligence? Is it scientifically impossible to detect intelligent activity in non-human animals? Or is it possible that ALL intelligent activity, regardless of the specific source, exhibits certain characteristics which can be scientifically or empirically discerned?

  21. Douglas

    Much of the technology of today would seem “supernatural” to those from thousands and hundreds of years ago who investigated the natural world.

    I suspect much of technology today still seems supernatural to evolutionary biologists. After all, you can beat them over the head with explanations of digital program controlled factory automation and how cellular machinery operate on the exact same principles and how these things can’t possibly poof themselves into existence without intelligence involved, and they still just don’t get it. They have no concept whatsoever how their cars and computers are made, they just barely know how to operate them.

    Arthur C. Clarke famously said “Any sufficiently advanced technology will appear as magic.”

    “Abra cadabra! Your new Prius is ready for you sir. This week we’re giving away free laptop computers with all new cars. Let me get yours for you. Alakazam! Here is it sir. Enjoy it with our compliments. If anything goes wrong in the first year please return it and we’ll hocus pocus a replacement for you!”

  22. With an as yet undetermined appendage PaulM writes to me:

    SETI is built on an observable model of intelligence from which we can make predictions. It is called human intelligence. It is just not difficult to predict that extra terrestrial intelligence might produce mathematics, literature, music, etc.

    But try making SETI predictions from an undefined intelligence. That would be a hoot. Really Dave, try it.

    From

    http://www.seti.org/site/apps/.....;ct=221004

    SETI has a far simpler definition of what it means to be intelligent: youre “intelligent” if you can build a powerful laser or a thumping radio transmitter. After all, thats what we demand if our SETI experiments are going to find something. In other words, the “intelligence” in SETI really means technical sophistication.

    In ID you’re intelligent if you are capable of genetic engineering.

    As a reward for your fabricated-on-the-fly stupidity about SETI you are hereby banished from this blog. Have a nice life.

  23. To ditto the comments of #18 antg et al, ID at its core is the attempt to re-establish design as a proper mode of causation (along with chance and necessity), which has been unceremoniously (and unjustly) excluded from scientific inquiry due to a misguided allegiance to naturalism, the claim that in order to be “scientific” any inquiry has to be naturalistic.

    We have become so inured to this allegiance that we seek to exclude ID as a valid methodological model purely on the basis of its theological implications. So we claim that ID is merely “religion through the back door” rather than address the issue honestly: that there are signs of intelligent causation all around us; that these signs are rigorously identifiable; that some of these signs are not explicable in terms of human activity but suggest the machinations of some higher power.

    We only need to open our eyes. Design IS a valid mode of causation. Truly free scientific inquiry abandons the restrictions of purely naturalistic science and adheres to the Aristotlean ideal that you follow the evidence to where it leads you. And if that evidence should lead us to the very feet of God himself — or to someone like him — then so be it.

  24. Is “intelligence” similar to Aristotle’s “formal causation?” Does anyone know about that?

  25. TerryL,
    I am confused about your statement “design is a valid mode of causation”, but I am equating mode with mechanism, so that could be the cause of my confusion.

    Nevertheless, the naturalists have their mechanisms of variation in biological organisms. What are ID’s proposed mechanisms? Do you posit some kind of infusing of information as life progresses which results in change? Or do you theorize front-loading which results in purely natural mechanism from that point forward. This is an aspect of ID that I am having a hard time getting a handle on.

  26. To both 24. Collin and 25. bj:

    Dr. Dembski discusses Aritstotle’s modes of causation quite thoroughly in his book Intelligent Design: The Bridge Between Science and Theology, but to summarize:

    Aristotle posited four modes of causation: material, efficient, formal, and final. (Dr. Dembski illustrates with Michaelangelo’s statue of David. Its material cause is the marble out of which the statue is made. Its efficient cause is the chisling of stone which gave its shape. Its formal cause is that it takes the shape of David and not some other historical figure, like Moses or Jesus. Its final cause entails its purpose, for decorating some Florentene villa, for example.)

    Sir Frances Bacon prodded scientific inquiry into its modern-day naturalistic bent by relegating material and efficient causation to science, and formal and final causation to philosophy or religion.

    The trouble in such a delineation is that there are elements of intelligence in all four modes. Formal and final causation can be described in terms of intelligence, certainly, but so can efficient causation, and, to a lesser extent, even material causation (quantum physics, for example, describes matter in terms of an observation that causes a collapse of the wave function of coherent superposition; it’s hard to talk of “observations” in terms of something other than intelligence).

    However, as Dr. Dembski points out in his book, the correction description of causation is to posit three modes: chance, necessity, and design. We tell ourselves that scientific inquiry only operates within the first two modes and excludes the third. But this is a case of our philosophy driving the data rather than the other way around. Design is also a valid mode of causation.

    Take for example this event: Some dude dies. If you read in the paper that his death occurred when he was struck by a meteor falling from space, we can say that his mode of death was chance, since had he simply been standing somewhere else he would not have died.

    If, however, you read in the paper that he was 120 years old when he died, then we can say that his mode of death was necessity, since we observe that there are very few people still living at that age (and since it’s encoded in our DNA that we should only live for so long). His death simply had to be so. Some law of nature necessitated it.

    But what if you read in the paper that he was found dead with a knife in his back? What chance event or what law of nature could we possibly appeal to that would put that knife where it was found? Clearly, the more plausible inference to make is that an intelligent agent put that knife there. (There are other possibilities, of course, but they all seem to center on the notion of an intelligent agent at work.)

    So, to repeat, Design is a proper mode of causation. Good thing, too, otherwise most writers of murder mysteries would have a hard time selling their stories.

  27. Thanks TerryL

  28. Thanks TerryL,
    I want to hone in on efficient causation. In your example, it was the chiseling that gave the stone it’s shape. If I try and compare that to biological organisms and then apply intelligence to the phenomenon, would I be right in referring efficient cause to the mechanisms of variation in organisms which produce change in shape, like in the statue example you used. Then, if you apply intelligence to the equation, would that then necessitate the action of intelligence to produce that effect? As in my previous question, do you posit “on site” action from some kind of intelligence in producing biological change. Hope I am making myself clear.

  29. DaveScot,

    Good point, when design engineers, computer programmers, data analysts, and mathematic modelers possess a greater understanding of the intricate workings of biological “systems” or organisms than do Biologists, Zoologists, and Botanists, well, you know NDE is in trouble, and ID is in ascendancy.

    Much of the criticism of ID in this thread is that the “Designer” is a black box, so therefore ID is not science. Maybe we forgot that the mechanics of life was a black box in Darwin’s time. After all, he was just studying the effects of cellular and chemical processes of which he knew nothing. He had no idea how blood clotting worked, for example.

    So, was Darwin not a Scientist? Was his work outside the realm of science? And, was he conducting tests to verify his hypothesis? Could his theory be disproven during his time, and if so, how? Where was his controlled lab experiments?

  30. Charles Darwin to Karl Marx, 1873, upon receiving a copy of Das Kapital inscribed, “Mr. Charles Darwin on the part of his sincere admirer Karl Marx.”

    I heartily wish I was more worthy to receive it, by understanding more of the deep & important subject of political economy. Though our studies have been so different, I believe that we both earnestly desire the extension of knowledge & that this in the long run is sure to add to the happiness of mankind.

    I didn’t know Marx and Darwin were such fanboys of each other. However, I am not surprised.

  31. #28 bj

    You pose an excellent question, and were I anything akin to an expert in the field, I would try to give you the thorough answer your question deserves. Be it as it may, here’s my take:

    In order to identify intelligence as the agent of efficient causation in biological mechanisms, I would suppose you would have to establish just how the mechanisms that produced a particular shape produced THAT particular shape rather than some other shape. It all falls to the criteria of intelligent agency: contingency, specificity, complexity. It would be easy enough to identify how a particular shape so derived could be contingent or complex, so the real difficulty would be in identifing its specificity. So the question then becomes: was one shape out of a number of possible shapes derived in defiance of the odds that a chance event could have established it? But don’t ask me. If my brains were dynamite, I couldn’t blow my nose.

    Perhaps one of the other UDers might bail me out and provide a more coherent reply? Pleeeeze?

  32. Thanks Terry,

    “If my brains were dynamite, I couldn’t blow my nose”.

    I laughed out loud.

  33. Hey,

    I just was threatenned by a lawyer who said he’d take us (idnet) to court for advertising UMOL DVD as “scientific”.

  34. Hey,

    I just was threatenned by a lawyer who said he’d take us (idnet) to court for advertising UMOL DVD as “scientific”.

    Comment by idnet.com.au — November 14, 2006 @ 6:06 am

    That’s funny! Does he have a trademark on the word “scientific”? Does the lawyer have an actual law license?

  35. Clearly, it was the Religious Rigth who “married” Darwin with Marx and Freud.

  36. Knowing the construction mechanism is not required to make the study of the constructed object part of science. How the pyramids of Egypt were constructed is veiled in mystery but the study of them remains in the realm of archeological science. Moreover, we’ll probably never know how the pyramids were constructed yet the study of them will still be part of archeological science.

  37. TerryL,
    I have been thinking about your reply and ID concepts, and I believe I do understand. If you come to a point where a particular biological structure is shown to be quite improbable via chance mechanisms, then the inference to an intelligent cause is made. But, that would also infer onsite creative power in the formation of that structure. I do see how this distinguishes ID from a theistic evolutionary belief where none of the structures of biological organisms are the result of direct creative action.

  38. For Paul M and Paul V:

    ID is based on three premises and the inference that follows (DeWolf et al., Darwinism, Design and Public Education, pg. 92):

    1) High information content (or specified complexity) and irreducible complexity constitute strong indicators or hallmarks of (past) intelligent design.
    2) Biological systems have a high information content (or specified complexity) and utilize subsystems that manifest irreducible complexity.
    3) Naturalistic mechanisms or undirected causes do not suffice to explain the origin of information (specified complexity) or irreducible complexity.
    4) Therefore, intelligent design constitutes the best explanations for the origin of information and irreducible complexity in biological systems.

    Is ID falsifiable? Absolutely. Just destroy one of the three premises listed above, and like a 3-legged table, it falls.

    As Dr. Behe wrote:

    “Coyne’s conclusion that design is unfalsifiable, however, seems to be at odds with the arguments of other reviewers of my book. Clearly, Russell Doolittle (Doolittle 1997), Kenneth Miller (Miller 1999), and others have advanced scientific arguments aimed at falsifying ID. (See my articles on blood clotting and the “acid test” on this web site.) If the results with knock-out mice (Bugge et al. 1996) had been as Doolittle first thought, or if Barry Hall’s work (Hall 1999) had indeed shown what Miller implied, then they correctly believed my claims about irreducible complexity would have suffered quite a blow. And since my claim for intelligent design requires that no unintelligent process be sufficient to produce such irreducibly complex systems, then the plausibility of ID would suffer enormously. Other scientists, including those on the National Academy of Science’s Steering Committee on Science and Creationism, in commenting on my book have also pointed to physical evidence (such as the similar structures of hemoglobin and myoglobin) which they think shows that irreducibly complex biochemical systems can be produced by natural selection: “However, structures and processes that are claimed to be ‘irreducibly’ complex typically are not on closer inspection.” (National Academy of Sciences 1999, p. 22)

    Now, one can’t have it both ways. One can’t say both that ID is unfalsifiable (or untestable) and that there is evidence against it. Either it is unfalsifiable and floats serenely beyond experimental reproach, or it can be criticized on the basis of our observations and is therefore testable. The fact that critical reviewers advance scientific arguments against ID (whether successfully or not) shows that intelligent design is indeed falsifiable.

    In fact, my argument for intelligent design is open to direct experimental rebuttal. Here is a thought experiment that makes the point clear. In Darwin’s Black Box (Behe 1996) I claimed that the bacterial flagellum was irreducibly complex and so required deliberate intelligent design. The flip side of this claim is that the flagellum can’t be produced by natural selection acting on random mutation, or any other unintelligent process. To falsify such a claim, a scientist could go into the laboratory, place a bacterial species lacking a flagellum under some selective pressure (for mobility, say), grow it for ten thousand generations, and see if a flagellum–or any equally complex system–was produced. If that happened, my claims would be neatly disproven.

    How about Professor Coyne’s concern that, if one system were shown to be the result of natural selection, proponents of ID could just claim that some other system was designed? I think the objection has little force. If natural selection were shown to be capable of producing a system of a certain degree of complexity, then the assumption would be that it could produce any other system of an equal or lesser degree of complexity. If Coyne demonstrated that the flagellum (which requires approximately forty gene products) could be produced by selection, I would be rather foolish to then assert that the blood clotting system (which consists of about twenty proteins) required intelligent design.”

    Reality demonstrates that ID is testable and falsifiable. Testable by the IC & CSI observed in living organisms. Falsifiable by demonstrating unintelligent, blind/ undirected processes can account for it.

    Seeing that the materialistic alternative to ID uis sheer-dumb-luck one wonders just what predictions that model makes and how it can be tested…

  39. I just want to add that people asking for “ID research” are missing the point. That point being is that first scientists must be allowed to conduct scientific research and reach a design inference if that is what the data affords.

    We know from experience that it matters a great deal to an investigation whether or not an event/ structure/ object came into existence via law/ necessity acting with or without random influences or designing agencies were involved. Designing agencies add purpose and intent, as well as possibilities of reverse engineering as a way to understand and possibly duplicate.

  40. We could also turn this around by asking:

    1) How could we test the premise that (for example- insert any IC structure here) a bacterial fllagellum could arise/ evolve via stochastic/ blind watchmaker-type processes in a population in which did not have one?

    2) What would falsfy that premise?

    And for all of my asking I have yet to receive a response.

    IOW ask of ID only that which is asked of the materialistic alternative(s).

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