Saturday, September 11, 2010
.....coming to a Dumb Design blog near you
This post by GilDodgen on Uncommon Descent betrays a measure of extremism typical of some parts of the anti-evolution movement. One doesn’t even necessarily have to actually accept evolution to see that Dodgen has a caricatured and distorted view of evolutionists. Here are the salient issues raised in the post:
1. Dodgen was once a militant atheist. That’s the first warning sign: This man isn’t the sort who is going to believe things by halves and probably thinks everyone else should be as highly convicted and polarised as he is.
2. Dodgen titles his post Why Secular and Theistic Darwinists (sic) fear ID. So where does this implied accusation leave Christians like Sir John Polkinghorne, who is an evolutionist and justifies his claim to being an Intelligent Design Creationist because he sees the providence of God in the conditions required to make evolution a fruitful process. Thus does Dodgen try to drive a wedge between Christian evolutionists and their belief in the providence of God.
3. Dodgen is at his worst when he defines evolution in way that would no doubt have warmed his heart when he was an extreme atheist: God-guided evolution” was an oxymoron, since “evolution,” as defined in the academy and by its major promoters, is by definition undirected and without purpose. Like all theories evolution purports to describe reality using a set of principles that succinctly embody information about the patterns displayed by the structure of reality. As I have often remarked on this blog evolution must be highly resourced by information to work; this information, if it exists, is found in the layout of configuration space. This information provides a probability envelop that can be said to direct evolution in the sense that this envelop constrains what is possible. Only the descriptive information embodied in this envelop is within the terms of reference of evolutionary theory but terms such as “intentional” and “purpose” are not within evolutionary theory’s remit. Once again notice how Dodgen’s comments have the effect of denigrating and defaming Christian evolutionists by accusing them of aiding and abetting those who propose a purposeless, godless universe.
I don’t think people like Dodgen are theoretically competent enough to deal with the matter of evolution, whatever its status. He still has cognitive legacies from his extremist past to cope with and these impair his judgment (in fact he’s still an extremist, so nothing has changed there). If evolution is false then apparently Dodgen simply doesn’t have the where-with-all to equip him for the job of refuting it and he should be fired.